28 June 2006

HIGH COURT AFFIRMS JOURNALISTS' RIGHT TO PROTECT SOURCES


A Tokyo High Court has recognised the importance of protecting journalists' right to keep their sources confidential, reports the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

On 13 June 2006, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the protection of news sources served the public interest and the public's right to know. The case related to a series of lawsuits filed in the U.S. by an American food company, whose Japanese subsidiary was fined for tax evasion in 1997.

The American company claimed in its lawsuits that tax information, which the U.S. government provided to Japanese tax authorities at that time, was leaked to the media, including a journalist from the newspaper "Yomiuri Shimbun". The journalist reported in an October 1997 article that the subsidiary had chosen not to declare about 7.7 billion yen (US$66m) in taxable income. The company asked Japanese judicial authorities to question reporters at several Japanese news organizations, including the "Yomiuri Shimbun" and the broadcaster NHK, in connection with the case.

The 13 June decision reaffirmed an earlier ruling by the same court on 17 March, which declared that an NHK journalist who reported on the same tax scandal had a right to protect his source's identity, even if that source was a public official.

Visit these links:
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?index=3994&Language=EN- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=16853- Jurist: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/06/japan-court-rules-journalists-can-keep.php

Japan
 
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