MLDI leads intervention at European Court to protect journalistic sources

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Posted on: 
15 Sep 2010

MLDI led a coalition of several interveners to urge the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to recognise enhanced protection for journalistic sources.

The Media Legal Defence Initiative worked with the applicants' lawyers and led a coalition of interveners in the case of Sanoma v. the Netherlands, before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.

Our intervention urged the Grand Chamber to overturn an earlier judgment by a lower chamber at the Court which had found that police did not need judicial authorisation to compel evidence from media.

We argued that this set a dangerous precedent. The Grand Chamber agreed with our submissions and unanimously overturned the earlier judgment, holding that journalistic materials enjoy enhanced protection from search and seizure.

"This ruling was an acid test for the court and for media freedom across Europe," said Geoffrey Robertson QC, counsel for a coalition of intervening organizations. "It sets a high benchmark for protection of journalistic materials and will force police and prosecutors across Europe, from Russia to France, to change their practices."

The Grand Chamber judgment can be found here.

Click here for the intervention by MLDI and the other interveners.