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Argentina4 October 2002

Judge threatens confidentiality of sources

Reporters Without Borders protested today at a judge’s threat to try to identity the sources a journalist had used in writing an article about corruption involving members of the country’s senate.

"The right of journalists not to reveal their sources is a cornerstone of press freedom and challenging it endangers all investigative journalism, along with the openness necessary for democracy," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to justice minister Juan José Álvarez. He called the minister to remind the judge of this and to ensure that the principle was respected.

Thomas Catán, Buenos Aires correspondent of the British daily Financial Times, appeared as a witness before Judge Claudio Bonadio on 17 September after having written an article saying some senators had asked for bribes from bankers in exchange for voting against a proposed law that would affect banks.

At the end of the hearing, during which the journalist refused to reveal his sources, the judge said he would probably ask for a copy of Catán’s phone records in the days preceding publication of his article.

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