Journalists play a central role in initiating and stimulating public debates but face constant challenges in accessing information from public bodies, particularly when that information relates to issues such as corruption and organised crime, violations of human rights, controversial international relations, environmental contamination, relationships with business and lobby groups, and the more sensitive aspects of EU integration.
These challenges are increasing due to limitations on freedom of expression and access to information resulting from new counter-terrorism and security measures. At the same time increased use of electronic surveillance technologies by public (and private) bodies is making it harder for journalists to protect their investigations and confidential sources making them vulnerable to legal and extra-legal pressures to desist from investigations and to reveal sources of information.
Access Info Europe and n-ost Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe are working to empower journalists to recoup their role as public watchdogs through exercise of their right of access to information in both their own country and other countries. Our goal is also to protect media freedom by promoting techniques by which journalists can protect the security of their data and of confidential sources of information. We are also working to promote cross-border collaboration between journalists from across Europe, the project will strengthen networks of journalists who will help each other file requests for information in each other’s countries and cooperate on investigations.
For more information see the Legal Leaks project website: www.legalleaks.info. You can also download the Legal Leaks Toolkit here.