Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, 21 September 2010.

For Immediate Release Press Groups Welcome European Court Ruling on Protection of Sources. The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA), together with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, have welcomed the landmark ruling of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the protection of journalistic sources.

In an appeal decision issued last week, the Grand Chamber of the court unanimously

upheld the rights of journalists across Europe to protect their sources of information.

"The decision reaffirms a continent-wide commitment to press freedom and guarantees the media’s fundamental right to confidentiality, and has halted the erosion of source protection," the organisations said in a statement. "The court has significantly strengthened journalists’ ability to gather and report information of public interest. This whole saga only reinforces the crucial need to keep a watchful eye on the press freedom situation even in countries where the press can operate freely,” the statement said. The Grand Chamber overturned a 2009 decision by the Third Section of the European Court that had condoned interference with journalistic sources without prior judicial scrutiny.

The initial ruling came in March 2009 in the case of Sanoma v. the Netherlands, in which the Finnish-owned Dutch magazine publisher was forced to hand a CD containing photographs to police. No warrant was issued, and police applied serious pressure to the magazine publishers including, briefly, arresting the Editor-in-chief. The lower court had ruled that there had been “no violation”, prompting Sanoma to appeal the case to the Grand Chamber. The Chamber ruled that it was not up to the police or public prosecutors to compel journalists to reveal their sources. Several organisations -- the Media Legal Defence Initiative, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Guardian News and Media Limited, and the Open Society Justice Initiative -- intervened jointly in the lawsuit, with support from ENPA, WAN-IFRA, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Index on Censorship, Condé Nast Publications, Hearst Corporation, the National Geographic Society, the New York Times Company, La Repubblica, Reuters, Time Inc., and the Washington Post Company.

WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organisation groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.

ENPA, based in Brussels, is an international non-profit association, advocating the interests of the European newspaper publishing industry at different European and international organisations and institutions. ENPA represents over 5,200 national, regional and local newspaper titles, published in 25 European countries. More than 150 million newspapers are sold and read by over 300 million Europeans every day, in addition to the millions of unique daily visits to online newspaper websites. Publishing industries as a whole constitute an important economic sector in the EU, employing more than 750,000 people in 64,000 companies.

The World Editors Forum (WEF) is the organisation within WAN-IFRA for chief editors and other senior newsroom personnel.

Learn more about WAN-IFRA at and ENPA at

Inquiries to:

- Francine Cunningham, Executive Director of ENPA, tel: +32 (0)2 551 01 90 or email

- Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France. Tel: +33 6 10 28 97 36.


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats. EMMA represents 15,000 publishing houses, publishing 50,000 magazine titles across Europe in print and digital.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.