Friday

18th Oct 2019

EU court rejects German journalist case

An EU court has rejected a case brought by a German journalist concerning the protection of journalistic sources.

The European Court of First Instance on Friday (15 October) rejected an application for "interim measures" by Hans-Martin Tillack, which would have meant that possessions of his, seized earlier in the year by Belgian police, would not be allowed to be inspected by the EU's anti-fraud office (OLAF).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Hans-Martin Tillack (Photo: Jasper Carlberg)

Mr Tillack, an investigative journalist working for Stern Magazine, brought the case against the European Commission on the grounds that if OLAF - for which it is responsible - is allowed to inspect the material seized by the police then his sources will be compromised.

The court rejected both this claim and the one for damages on the grounds that there is not enough legal basis for the claims.

The International Federation of Journalists, which has been following his case closely and intervened on his behalf in Court case, called Friday's decision "disturbing".

"This whole issue has opened up a serious question in terms of protection of sources", said Robert Shaw of the IFJ saying that it was "difficult" that the question was back in the hands of the Belgian authorities.

Mr Shaw added that the IFJ "would fully support" Mr Tillack if he were to appeal his case.

Two year history

The whole issue started in 2002 when Mr Tillack published articles in Stern about alleged irregularities in OLAF based on internal documents from the organisation.

OLAF then released a press statement saying it was possible that someone had been bribed to get the documents - something which Stern magazine refuted.

It also opened an internal investigation into who could have leaked the documents.

Earlier this year it sent the results of the internal investigation to the Belgian authorities resulting in a police search and confiscation of Mr Tillack's files and computer in March.

Mr Tillack then brought the case to court on the grounds that OLAF should not be allowed to inspect his possessions - for protection of sources reason - and for damages.

It is unclear whether the journalist will be able to appeal his case.

German journalist gets court backing in EU leak case

The European Court for Human Rights on Tuesday ruled that Belgian police violated the right to freedom of expression of a Brussels-based German journalist by raiding his home and office back in 2004.

EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Remarks to Congress by the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, have shed light on the unusual nature of American diplomacy under president Donald Trump.

Opinion

Europe's empty fortress

It is too easy only to criticise the rightists and their fixation with barbed wire, Trump for his wall on the border with Mexico, Orban for his xenophobia.

Opinion

Catalonia shows dangers of jail terms for non-violence

Time and again, across the world, efforts to "decapitate" non-violent movements, and refusals to engage in political dialogue with them, have led to situations like we are seeing today in Catalonia.

News in Brief

  1. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  2. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  3. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  4. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  5. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  6. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products
  7. G7: Libra should not operate until all risks addressed
  8. Kurds agree with US-Turkey ceasefire but not safe-zone

Crucial summit: last EU-28 format?

The EU summit will be crucial for the future of the EU, but especially for the UK. The next EU summit will not be the same since the UK's withdrawal will have consequences for the power relations within the council.

EU parliament quietly hoards visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to national authorities in case of investigations.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us