The protection of sources and their confidentiality is essential to journalistic practice, as it is very difficult for journalists to operate unless they can give a strong and genuine promise of confidentiality to their sources. Sources may be seen as journalists’ ‘meat and drink’: if they cannot guarantee a source’s anonymity, journalists may not be able to report at all.
This was reiterated in 2011 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, stating that the protection of journalistic sources of information is a basic condition for both the full exercise of journalistic work and the right of the public to be informed on matters of public concern, as expressed by the European Court of Human Rights in its case law under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. While the protection of journalistic sources may at time be subject to limitation, the ECtHR considers that orders to disclose sources are only justifiable in very exceptional cases.
In this context, this map monitors, reports and compares the differences in the regulation on the protection of journalists’ sources across EU Member States.
The map provides a practical tool for journalists to familiarise themselves with the standards on the protection of sources in their own country and how they compare to those in other countries in Europe. This will enable them to better protect their freedom of expression and the confidentiality of their sources, while being aware of the exceptional cases in which they may be obliged to disclose their sources.
The information and data compiled in this map are based on reports provided by a network of journalists and experts established by the CMPF, and refer to freely available data and information publicly available from national bureau data sources.
Survey Coordinators: Pieter-Jan Ombelet Laurens Naudts ( ICRI/CIR – KU Leuven )
Content reviewed by: Lisa Ginsborg CMPF
Web Design: Lorenzo Giuntini
Estonia: Anni Jatsa, Transparency International Estonia
Finland: Salla Vuorikoski
Germany: Guido Strack, Whistleblower-Netzwerk Germany
Greece: Anna Damaskou, Transparency International Greece
Hungary: Fanny Hidvégi with the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ)
Ireland: Donncha O’Giobúin, Transparency International Ireland
Italy: Gaetano Citro and Laura Marconi
Lithuania: Paulius Murauskas, Transparency International Lithuania
Luxembourg: Transparency International Luxembourg
Malta: EUI team with help from Joseph Zammit, Chairman Transparency Malta
The Netherlands: Advice Centre for Whistleblowers in the Netherlands.
United Kingdom: Sam Bereket, Privacy Concern at Work