Journalists’ professional secrecy is now closer than ever to acquiring legal guarantees. The Federation of Spanish Journalists’ Associations (FAPE), the CCOO and UGT Journalists’ Associations and the Federation of Journalists’ Unions (FeSP) have reached an agreement with the Government to regulate professional secrecy through a law.
This milestone would prohibit journalists from being prosecuted for protecting the identity of their sources and would also mean a reinforcement of the constitutional protection contemplated in article 20 of the Magna Carta, 44 years after its approval.
The parliamentary process will take the form of an amendment by the Socialist Parliamentary Group to the draft Law regulating the protection of persons who report on regulatory infringements and the fight against corruption -known as whistleblower-, which proposes the introduction of an Organic Law on the protection of professional secrecy in journalism.
The explanatory memorandum of the text of the amendment -subscribed by the federation of associations and trade unions- argues that although the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights has been delimiting the contours of the figure of professional secrecy, sporadic episodes continue to appear that justify the direct intervention of the legislator to consolidate legal protection.
Judge de Palma
One of the most controversial and controversial was the one in 2018 when an examining magistrate in Palma ordered the police to seize the mobile phones and computers of two journalists from Europa Pres and Diario de Mallorca to identify their sources for the news published on the Cursach corruption case during their judicial investigation.
If the law already on the table is passed, no journalist will be obliged to reveal the identity of the source or any other information that could lead directly or indirectly to their identification. Furthermore, this regulation would prevent actions that undermine professional secrecy from discouraging future sources from collaborating with the media.