Protecting journalism sources in the digital age – New UNESCO publication

UNESCO has released a new comprehensive study of changes that impact on legal frameworks that support protection of journalistic sources in the digital age.

Announcing the release of the new publication titled ‘Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age’ UNESCO said:

While the rapidly emerging digital environment offers great opportunities for journalists to investigate and report information in the public interest, it also poses particular challenges regarding the privacy and safety of journalistic sources. These challenges include: mass surveillance as well as targeted surveillance, data retention, expanded and broad antiterrorism measures, and national security laws and over-reach in the application of these.

All these can undermine the confidentiality protection of those who collaborate with journalists, and who are essential for revealing sensitive information in the public interest but who could expose themselves to serious risks and pressures. The effect is also to chill whistleblowing and thereby undermine public access to information and the democratic role of the media. In turn, this jeopardizes the sustainability of quality journalism.

The present research provides a comprehensive review of developments that can impact on the legal frameworks that support protection of journalistic sources. Interviews, panel discussions, thematic studies and a review panel ensured the input of legal and media experts, journalists and scholars. This in-depth study thus seeks to assess the evolution of protective legal frameworks over the eight years from 2007-2015, and provides recommendations for the future of journalistic source protection.

Download a copy of ‘Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age’ here.