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    Monday, 12 November 2007

    Can you keep a secret?: survey on international shield laws

    Human rights group Privacy International has published the findings of a global survey of laws protecting journalists' sources. The survey demonstrates that 'shield laws' designed to allow journalists to maintain the confidentiality of sources have been adopted in around 100 jurisdictions worldwide. Interestingly, it highlights the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Ireland as noteworthy for their failure to introduce specific legal protections.

    The survey notes the potential difficulties faced by journalists in the face of the regular deployment of search warrants on media offices and journalists' homes, the use of legal and illegal surveillance, the adoption of data retention laws allowing authorities easy access to journalists communications data, and national security claims.

    The survey also offers a useful breakdown of key aspects of national laws, and an overview of international provisions and statements relevant to the area, before focusing on individual regions. Its a very helpful resource.

    [BTW, the cartoon by Cambon is from the World Association of Newspapers site]


    Andrew Scott said...

    Greenslade has had a couple of comments on journalists' sources in the last week or so, first in commenting on attempts by Northen Rock to restrain publication of stories by the Daily Telegraph and the FT, and second with reference to a decision of the PCC criticising the failure of a local newspaper to protect the source of a story it published.

    Andrew Scott said...

    As regards the Northern Rock case, its been reported that the FT has pulled out of an intended challenge on public interest grounds to the partial injunction awarded to NR. Its an unfortunate truth that the practical benefits of actions to parties are often much lower than the general benefit of development / clarification of the law, and so many opportunities understandably go begging.

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