Protection of sources 'not a political luxury' says Journalists Institute

"In the light of the repeated defence of the great importance and protection given to journalistic sources by the highest European court, the IĠM takes a very dim view of a leader of a party who tries to attack the media and its sources"

The IGM has defended the protection of confidentiality of journalists' sources
The IGM has defended the protection of confidentiality of journalists' sources

The Institute of Maltese Journalists has insisted that the protection of confidentiality of journalists’ sources was "a legal democratic need not a political luxury", after PN leader Adrian Delia asked the police to investigate leaks of his WhatsApp messages to the press.

"In the light of the repeated defence of the great importance and protection given to journalistic sources by the highest European court, the IĠM takes a very dim view of a leader of a party who tries to attack the media and its sources.

"Noting the discourse in the recent early morning press-conference by Adrian Delia, the IĠM stands by the journalists in question and reminds leaders that the need to respect confidentiality of sources is a legal democratic need not a political luxury," it said in a statement on Saturday morning. 

The IĠM's comments came after Delia's decision to ask the police to investigate WhatsApp messages he claims were leaked to Times of Malta.

On Sunday, the Times had published messages between Delia and businessman Yorgen Fenech, who stands accused of commissioning the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder. 

"The IĠM reiterates that protecting journalistic sources is the cornerstone of the Freedom of the Press following attempts to put journalistic leaks under criminal investigation," it added.

The institute pointed to a recent fact-sheet published by the Council of Europe which listed a series of landmark
judgements on the issue of protection of sources.

"Case-law also shows that juridically this aspect of the practicing journalist’s tools is treated with the utmost caution. Without effective protection, sources may be deterred from assisting the press in informing the public on matters of public interest. As a result, the vital 'public watchdog' role of the press may be undermined."

The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights shows clearly that the right of journalists not to disclose their sources “is not a mere privilege to be granted or taken away but is part and parcel of the right to information,” it said.

 

More in National