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IFJ condemns increasing surveillance of journalists and trade unions

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 24 November 2008 IFJ media release:

EFJ/IFJ Condemns Increasing Surveillance on Journalists and Trade Unions in Germany

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, today expressed great concern about the extent of surveillance by the German Telekom including against journalists, which has taken alarming dimensions in Germany.

"It is not acceptable that the Telekom could misuse data retention to violate protection of sources and press freedom by engaging in surveillance of journalists, work council representatives and trade union members," said EFJ President Arne König. "It is further confirmation that the European data retention regulation has been misused in many member states and that journalists throughout Europe face new battles to protect their sources of information."

The Telekom affair in Germany has created a lot of uncertainty among civil society, including journalists, and both EFJ affiliates, dju in ver.di and DJV, have criticised the Telekom for a complete lack of respect regarding protection of sources and press freedom. They ask for a complete redraft of the data retention regulation and for a full guarantee against any misuse of all data taken since January.

"Unfortunately, no journalist anywhere in Europe can be certain that their work is not subject to official surveillance, that their telephones are not being tapped and that they can with any confidence protect their sources. We are experiencing similar developments in Sweden, Italy and the UK and certain other countries and we are considering taking a case reflecting the abuse of data retention and surveillance to the European Court of Human Rights," concluded König.

The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in over 30 countries.

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