World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


World’s Press Condemns Police Raids Against News Organisations in Spain

World’s Press Condemns Police Raids Against News Organisations in Spain

Article ID:

22249

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF), have condemned police attempts to seize documents and equipment from Europa Press news agency and newspaper Diario de Mallorca, moves that risk exposing journalistic sources in connection to a high profile corruption case on the island.

Police raided the headquarters of Europa Press news agency and newspaper Diario de Mallorca on Tuesday, December 11th with the intention of confiscating sensitive material that could potentially lead to the exposure of source information, a move that signals a clear attack on press freedom.

A criminal investigation has been launched against Europa Press focusing on its headquarters in the Balearic Islands, with prosecutors demanding documentation and corporate assets connected to the news agency’s reports on the so-called ‘Cursach case.’

Tolo Cursach, a leading figure in the Mallorca nightlife and construction sectors, was arrested in March 2017 and charged with numerous crimes including bribery, extortion, issuing threats, criminal association, money laundering, homicide, corruption of minors and arms possession. After 16 months in pre-trial custody, he posted €1 million bail this month.

Police reportedly demanded the mobile phone of a Europa Press journalist, along with all documentation related to the story. The journalist was also denied the right to seek legal counsel.

Journalists at Diario de Mallorca refused to hand over the information requested by police agents on the basis of the right not to disclose journalistic sources as well as

the fundamental right to freedom of information. The Court of Instruction has requested the journalist leading the Cursach investigation to appear before the Court, also confiscating their mobile phone.

Europa Press and Diario de Mallorca have subsequently launched their own legal proceedings.

“We are appalled that police have undermined press freedom by attempting to seize journalistic material that risks exposing information about confidential sources,” said Vincent Pèyregne, WAN-IFRA CEO.

“Source protection is fundamental to the profession of journalism: without it, media cannot operate independently or expect to command public trust. We fully support Europa Press and Diario de Mallorca in their legal fight, and demand the Spanish authorities cease their criminal investigations, return any seized materials un-tampered, and renew their commitment to defending – rather than criminalising – journalism.”

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2018-12-13 14:49

Contact information

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...