Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Switzerland21 December 2001

The police asks a journalist to disclose his sources

In a letter addressed to Bernard Bertossa, Attorney General of Geneva, Reporters sans frontières (RSF- Reporters Without Borders) expressed its concern about proceedings led against the daily "Le Courrier" on December 18, 2001 for "public incitement to violence" and about pressures exerted on the journalist Philippe Bach to have him disclose his sources.

"That complaint deliberately confuses a letter to the Editor praising violent actions against private property with the newspaper’s quite moderate answer. It is only instructed for it is stemming from the chief inspector and because the journalist knows the mail author’s identity. Exerting such a pressure on the journalist to have him disclose his sources cannot be admitted. The job and duty of a journalist is to inform and not to be compelled to behave like a justice or police auxiliary.  The principle of protecting sources is the sole guarantee of an independent inquisitive and investigative journalism", declared Robert Ménard, General Secretary of Reporters sans Frontières. "We ask you to give up the proceedings against "Le Courrier" and its editing staff", added M. Ménard.

According to the information gathered by RSF, Philippe Bach, editor at the local column of the Genevan daily Le Courrier, was summoned on December 18, by an inspector of the Genevan investigation Department further to a complaint against the newspaper for "incitement to violence", stemming from police inspector Christian Coquoz. The complaint refers to an answer of the Courrier, signed by Philippe Bach, to a letter from readers praising "direct actions" and drafting a list of the buildings assaulted in Geneva during the demonstration against the World Trade Organisation (OMC) on November10. Eventually, the inspector who had acknowledged his doubts about the validity of the accusation has asked Philippe Bach to disclose the identity of the letter signatories. What the journalist refuses to do, calling on the Chart of the journalist’s rights and duties and the provisions pertaining to the protection of sources acknowledged by the republic and canton of Geneva. The editor in chief of the Courrier, Manuel Grandjean, might also be summoned for some complementary investigation. The sentence incurred for the charges called upon includes imprisonment or deferred sentence in addition to fines.

  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
27 April - Switzerland
Call for the decriminalization of press offences
10 February - Switzerland
Three journalists face prison for revealing existence of secret CIA prisons in Europe

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

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

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

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