The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of  
the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today expresses its  
deepest concern following a further violation of the law on protection  
of sources in France, reportedly ordered by the French authorities.

"For the second time in recent months, the law on protection of  
sources has been grossly violated in France, apparently on the orders  
of the highest leaders of this country, in spite of their  
responsibility for ensuring the implementation of the laws to ensure  
freedom of the press," said EFJ President Arne König.

   The French daily /Le Monde/ announced its intention to lodge a new  
complaint “against X” [a complaint against unknown people according to  
French law] after the police requested access to detailed phone bills  
of two journalists of this newspaper, Jacques Follorou and Gérard  
Davet, about the “Bettencourt” court-case. However, Article 77-1-1 of  
the Code of Criminal Procedure requires the prosecutor to obtain  
permission from reporters before seeking to access their detailed bills.

On 20 September, /Le Monde/ had already brought a complaint for breach  
of confidentiality of sources. The paper claimed the Executive Branch  
of the National Police (DGPN) and services of the DCRI, the  
intelligence services, had spied on /Le Monde/ to try to discover the  
source of the newspaper in the Woerth-Bettencourt case. 

   The EFJ denounced  the French government in September about the  
first case of breach of confidentiality of sources on /Le Monde/  

The protection of journalistic sources is the cornerstone of press  
freedom in Europe, defined by Article 10 of the European Convention on  
Human Rights, and enshrined as such by the constant case-law of the  
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In France, a special law was  
enacted on 4 January 2010, stipulating that it was illegal to attempt  
“to discover the sources of a journalist by investigations on any  
person who, because of its usual relationship with a journalist, may  
hold information identifying these sources”.

The EFJ is worried by these successive and repeated attacks against  
the law on protection of sources in France:  in addition to /Le  
Monde/, the case of journalists working for /Le Point/ and /L'Equipe/  
are currently being examined by the ECHR. The EFJ and the Syndicat  
National des Journalistes (SNJ) have submitted comments to these cases  
under the third party intervention.

   This latest complaint “against X” supported by the SNJ and the  
SNJ-CGT follows the lawsuit brought by the online media /Médiapart/ in  
defamation against the Secretary General of the ruling party, Xavier  

   The EFJ says that, though protected under the  law across Europe,  
the confidentiality of sources, is undermined in practice in many  
countries in the name of "state security" through abuse of power and  
especially thanks to technology that allows the tracing of electronic  
communications. The EFJ has organised a roundtable in London on 21  
September in order to define common strategies in Europe.

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