Public Defender Echoes Alleged Unauthorized Surveillance of Media Representatives
On July 13, 2022, an audio recording was released by the media, which described the planning process of the Main Channel programme - Post Factum and contained information about journalists' confidential source. This is not the first case when we learnt about the alleged illegal surveillance of the representatives of the media.
The Public Defender is concerned about the reports of alleged unauthorized wiretapping of representatives of critical media outlets, which has a negative impact on the quality of media freedom that has already been deteriorated in the recent period. In this regard, the dangerous and hostile environment created for media representatives, as well as the unjustified control of the content of programmes, is particularly noteworthy.
The practice of surveillance of media representatives has a chilling effect on the full enjoyment of freedom of expression by journalists and aims to intimidate them and hinder their activities. The aforementioned harmful practices are especially dangerous for investigative journalism, where the protection of confidentiality of the source has additional importance. Violation of the secrecy of private communication with journalists may force a potential whistleblower to refrain from cooperating with the media, which ultimately creates the danger of keeping matters of public interest beyond public scrutiny.
Thus, the Public Defender will actively monitor the investigation of the alleged surveillance of the employees of the Main Channel by the Special Investigation Service and calls on the Investigation Service to periodically and proactively inform the public about the progress of the investigation.