News / 09.04.2015

Media sector stresses source protection in new cyber intelligence law

The Federation of the Finnish Media Industry, Union of Journalists in Finland and Council for Mass Media have voiced fears that new intelligence legislation will erode the protection of sources.

The media organisations say that source protection is in danger of being overridden, if the new law on conducting intelligence activities fails to create safeguards on the confidentiality of sources.

The organisations have expressed their concerns to the Ministry of Defence, which is drafting new security legislation on cyber intelligence that includes wide powers to monitor online communications

Source protection is an integral part of the guarantees on freedom of expression enshrined in the Finnish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The scope for voicing problems, failings and ideas for public debate anonymously through the media is essential for ensuring openness in the flow of information as a part of a transparent democracy.

The protection of sources safeguards the aspect of freedom of expression that entitles citizens to receive information and to form their own views about how society works and how power is used. Monitoring journalists’ information sources would be a violation of fundamental and human rights.

The media organisations gave their statement to the Ministry of Defence, Tuesday 7 April. A ministry working group for developing legislation on intelligence has been working on the new law since 2013, a process that will continue into the term of the new government, following elections 19 April.

In addition to source protection, the preparation of the new legislation has yet to address fundamental and human rights issues, protection of privacy and the confidentiality of telecommunications.

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