Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

French parliament splits on journalism bill

Latest update : 2008-05-16

The French parliament is debating a controversial bill that recognizes a journalist's right to protect sources while suggesting these may have to be revealed in special cases. The legislation has sparked outrage among journalists' unions.

The French government on Thursday introduced a bill that recognizes a journalist's right to protect sources while stating there may be special cases when reporters will have to name names.
  
The new legislation has been fiercely criticized by journalists' unions and press watchdogs for stating that reporters may have to reveal sources when "a pressing imperative requires it", wording seen as too vague.
  
"I believe that the confidentiality of sources can be lifted in certain very well-defined conditions. It cannot be absolute," Justice Minister Rachida Dati told parliament after presenting the bill.
  
Dati said cases involving terrorism or the kidnapping of a child may qualify under the law as instances when journalists in France may have to reveal sources.
  
"A newspaper receives a letter from a kidnapper. He threatens to kill the child in 48 hours unless ransom is paid. The investigators have no leads.  It is urgent to act to save the life of the child," Dati explained.
  
"The journalist invokes the confidentiality of his sources. Can we take the risk of allowing a child to be killed?" Dati said. "In this context, we must break the confidentiality."
  
She argued the new legislation promised by President Nicolas Sarkozy during his election campaign last year struck a balance between the rights of journalists and the needs of police and other law enforcement agencies.
  
But four unions representing journalists have come out against the bill, saying that the term "pressing imperative" left the door open to broad interpretation.
  
The bill came after a journalist for Le Monde, Guillaume Dasquie, was accused in December of "compromising national defence intelligence" when he wrote an article quoting classified reports that French intelligence services knew of some Al-Qaeda plans before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  
Dasquie has refused to name the person who gave him the information.
  
Former journalist and Green deputy Noel Mamere said the bill "undermines the right to confidentiality" and "weakens an essential democratic principle."
  
Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) has criticised the bill, saying in a statement that the restrictions placed on the confidentiality of sources were not "sufficiently cleary formulated".
  
Debate on the bill opened in parliament as Sarkozy and his governing party faced criticism from the leftist opposition after they accused several media in France, including Agence France-Presse, of bias.
  
Sarkozy complained during a meeting with deputies from his UMP party earlier this month that several French media had failed to properly cover a court decision against his defeated Socialist rival, Segolene Royal.
  
Two former employees won a court ruling in early April against Royal in a wrongful dismissal case.

Date created : 2008-05-16

COMMENT(S)