Archive item

Title: Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the protection and promotion of investigative journalism
Other/original title:
Publisher: Council of Europe
Files: Decl-26.09.2007E.doc
Abstract: This declaration, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 26 September 2007 at the 1005th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies, declares its support for investigative journalism in service of democracy. The declaration draws attention to "recent worrying developments", such as "an apparent trend towards increasing limitations on freedom of expression and information in the name of protecting public safety and fighting terrorism"; lawsuits brought against media professionals for publishing information of public interest; cases of unjustified surveillance of journalists; and legislative measures being taken or sought to limit the protection of “whistle blowers”. The declaration calls on member states to protect and promote investigative journalism, including by taking measures to ensure the safety of media professionals and the right of journalists to protect their sources; promptly investigating all cases of violence against or intimidation of journalists; and incorporating into their legislation recent case law of the European Court of Human Rights which has interpreted Article 10 [ECHR] as extending its protection to journalistic research". In general, the declaration acknowledges the important work of investigative journalists and its special importance in emerging democracies, and stresses that "the essential function of the media as public watchdog and as part of the system of checks and balances in a democracy would be severely crippled without [..] investigative journalism, which helps to expose legal or ethical wrongs". But the declaration also emphasises "that investigative journalism could benefit from the adherence of media professionals to voluntarily adopted self-regulatory instruments such as professional codes of conduct" and that "investigative journalism needs to be distinguished from .. practices which involve probing into and exposing people’s private and family lives" in ways that would violate Articles 8 and 10 ECHR.
Publication/ adoption date: 2007-09-26
Language: English