Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Switzerland27 April 2006

Call for the decriminalization of press offences

Welcoming European Court of Human Rights rulings on 25 April in favour of two Swiss journalists who were prosecuted by their government, Reporters Without Borders calls for the swift repeal of article 293 of the Swiss criminal code, a vestige of the era when heavy curbs were placed on press freedom.

The rulings, concerning a 1997 article by Martin Stoll in the weekly Sonntags-Zeitung about Swiss ambassador Carlo Jagmetti and a 1997 article by Viktor Dammann in the daily Blick, rectify a Swiss federal court decision that over-emphasized the crime of inciting an official to disclose a secret, to the detriment of an article on the protection of sources.

Reporters Without Borders strongly supports a motion by Green Party parliamentarian Josef Lang demanding the repeal of article 293 punishing the “publication of secret official debates,” under which Stoll was convicted.

This article, which as been a source of controversy for decades, led to three legal procedures against two news media in January alone. It violates article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic freedoms, which concerns free expression. The Swiss Federal Council itself proposed repealing article 293 in 1996, but this was rejected a year later by the National Council and the Council of States.

The European Court of Human Rights rulings underscore the interest of all democratic societies in ensuring and maintaining press freedom and should finally enable an improvement in the situation in Switzerland in this area, putting it on a par with other modern, democratic countries.

Reporters Without Borders also welcomes the fact that these rulings unequivocally stress that the essential purpose of the news media is to bring to public awareness all the necessary elements for forming opinion, as long as professional ethics and conduct are observed.

Robert Ménard Secretary-General

Thérèse Obrecht, Secretary-General, Reporters Without Borders Switzerland




  In this country
18 April - Switzerland
Military court acquits three journalists with Zurich-based weekly
14 February - Switzerland
European court’s ruling in Stoll case will be crucial for press freedom in Switzerland
7 February - Switzerland
Three journalists to be tried before military court for publishing leaked fax about CIA prisons
10 February - Switzerland
Three journalists face prison for revealing existence of secret CIA prisons in Europe
16 October - Switzerland
Attempt to bomb Zurich offices of Kosovo newspaper Bota Sot

in the annual report
Switzerland - Annual Report 2008
Switzerland - Annual report 2007

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

Reports
5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison
archives

Sign the petitions
Uzbekistan
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives