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  • Writer's pictureEPC

80 organisations urge the EP to protect journalists from surveillance and spyware

Together with 79 journalists and press freedom, civil society, trade unions, digital rights, publishers and broadcasters organisations, the European Publishers Council has sent an open letter to all members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), which is discussing the amendments to Article 4 on protection of sources and use of spyware against journalists of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA).

While the European Media Freedom Act represents an opportunity to safeguard the rights of journalists, the letter says, the recently-adopted Council’s general approach permits the deployment of “intrusive surveillance software” against media service providers on broad national security grounds. We have asked all members of the LIBE Committee to fight this.

What are we calling for?

  1. Guarantee the absolute prohibition of the deployment of spyware and any other surveillance technologies under point (c) of Article 4.2.

  2. Repressive measures under point (b) of Article 4.2:

    • strictly restrict the exception by inserting an exhaustive and limited list of seriouscrime allowing them (as defined in Article 2 (17) of the Commission’s proposal);

    • provide legal safeguards, such as the prior authorisation by an independent judge, access to effective legal remedies and a strict necessity and proportionality test.

3. A wider protection against access to journalistic encrypted content by including amendment 389 to the Parliament’s report.

The attached letter, which now also includes signatures from all major media organisations and trade unions, shows the broad consensus that the adopted negotiated mandate by the Council can by no means be accepted, if the Media Freedom Act sticks to its name and promises.


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