media lab | Podcast Season: 2 - Episode: 6 / Release date: 28-2-2023

1:1 with Dirk Voorhoof
Human Rights Centre, Ghent University

Key Quotes

"The protection of journalistic sources, in Article 4 of the EMFA, (...) risks rather to be a step backwards."
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"The EMFA provision does not guarantee the level of protection that all EU Member States should already respect [for] the protection of sources and that is because [they] are also a member of the European Convention on Human Rights."
2 / 9
"According to the European Court of Human Rights (...) the right of journalists to protect their sources, is very robustly protected: will the EMFA add something on top of what is already required?"
3 / 9
"The ideas are good to harmonise the protection of sources, because in some countries they haven't yet reached the level that is required by the European Convention on Human Rights."
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"The EMFA does not guarantee an ex ante review, before the police, a public prosecutor or an intelligence service can (...) look into the sources of a journalist: (...) that is a very important procedural guarantee which is missing."
5 / 9
"The EMFA proposal [on the protection of sources] only opts for an opinion [by an independent authority or body] afterwards , and that is of course not strong enough as a guarantee."
6 / 9
"The EMFA's proposal on the protection of sources lacks important guarantees, such as proportionality and subsidiarity."
7 / 9
"The EMFA wants to protect journalists, but leaves the door wide open to install spyware."
8 / 9
"EMFA’s guarantees are not sufficient: the Commission and other institutions (...) need to make an effort to introduce more specific requirements to [harmonise] a good guarantee to protect sources in the EU."
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About Our Guest

Dirk Voorhoof | Professor emeritus - Human Rights Centre, Ghent University
Prof. em. Dirk Voorhoof has been a lecturer in European Media and Information Law at the Ghent University and Copenhagen University for decades and he reports on developments regarding freedom of expression, media and journalism in Europe. He is co-founder and member of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom and is also a member of such initiatives as the Legal Human Academy, the Human Rights Centre at Ghent University and CASE, the coalition against SLAPPs in Europe. Prof. em. Voorhoof has also contributed to the work of regulators such as the Flemish Media Regulator and is a member of multiple expert networks. He has published extensively with a focus on freedom of expression and more recently the impact of SLAPPs.