Journalists and bloggers could get equal legal protection


Journalism vs blogging

Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch-Ballin has submitted a bill to the Dutch Lower House so that journalists obtain the legal right not to reveal their sources. The interesting part is that anyone who publishes for a broader audience will be protected under this law – including bloggers. The bill is designed to put an end to the situation where journalists are jailed for not revealing their sources.

Back in 2006, two journalists from Dutch daily De Telegraaf were imprisoned for not revealing the source who told them about state secrets of the AIVD (General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands) because they revealed information about a top criminal who was their source.

However, having a broad definition of who exactly is a journalist is quite practical. “European jurisprudence shows that protecting one’s source is not just for professional reporters, but also for amateurs and bloggers who can claim to be protecting a source.”

The photo about was taken during the Blog08 event in Amsterdam when a panel of well-known European journalists debated the journalism vs. blogging question. They were not very fond of bloggers as a primary source, although now it seems the law might actually provide bloggers with more leverage in the future.


1 Comment »

  1. Branko Collin says:

    The broad definition may derive from the Dutch constitution. Instead of “freedom of speech” we have “freedom of the press,” and I guess it would be rather back-handed to narrow down the group of people that may call themselves “the press”.

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