10 November 2004

Alert

Fifty-three journalists receive summonses in move condemned by RSF


Incident details

journalist(s)

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(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has condemned the summonsing of 53 journalists by the Lisbon Public Prosecutor's Office as an "attempt at intimidation." The journalists were summonsed for "violating legal confidentiality rules" in the Casa Pia child sex abuse trial, which opens on 25 November 2004.

"It is the first time since the return to democracy in Portugal in 1974 that so many journalists have been summonsed. On the eve of the opening of the Casa Pia trial, this wave of summonses could be seen as both an attempt at intimidation and incitement to self-censorship," RSF warned.

The 53 journalists, who have been or will be questioned, work for 11 leading Portuguese media outlets, including the daily "Correio da Manhã", SIC television station and the Antenna 1 national radio network. Several of the journalists who were summonsed asked to be questioned as accused rather than witnesses, which gives them the right to keep silent about their sources throughout the investigation. If found guilty, they risk a jail term of up to two years.

The trial of seven people accused of sexually abusing children will be held in camera. Some 100 witnesses are expected to give evidence. Political and media figures are among those charged.



Source

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
France
rsf (@) rsf.org
Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
Portugal
 
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