28 November 2008


Parliament defeats anti-terrorism law that would have required journalists to reveal their research material and sources

Incident details


(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a media release from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), an IFJ regional group:

EFJ Welcomes Defeat of Anti-Terrorism Law as Victory for Press Freedom in Germany

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, today welcomed the defeat of so-called BKA law (anti-terrorism law) in the Bundesrat (Upper House of the German Parliament). Several Federal States abstained from the voting.

"This is a very important victory for press freedom in Germany and in Europe," said EFJ President Arne König. "Our German affiliates, also in cooperation with all major media organizations, have continuously criticized the draft law on anti terrorism, which had foreseen extended authority for the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) for the defence of serious crimes."

"It would be wrong to grant the BKA powers to demand research material from journalists as this would violate the protection of sources," he added, saying that unfortunately also in other European countries, such as Sweden and the United Kingdom, similar laws have been drafted violating press freedom and fundamental human rights.

A recent survey by Privacy International, a human rights watchdog group, on the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on freedom of the media in Europe which had been commissioned by the Council of Europe, reveals the threats from anti-terrorism laws to press freedom and protection of sources. The report finds that the laws have already seriously affected freedom of expression while providing little benefit in fighting terrorism and that governments seem to be using these laws for their own political purposes.

The report "Speaking of Terror: A survey of the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on freedom of the media in Europe" is available at: http://tinyurl.com/5qx5f8
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in over 30 countries.

Updates German anti-terrorism law case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/97415
For further information on the "Speaking of Terror" report, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98821


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