The case of the judge who demands that elDiario.es provide the Francs with the name of the source that leaked the list of Meirás treasures has become a European matter. ‘Article 19’, the International Federation of Journalists / European Federation of Journalists and the International Press Institute have published an alert in the Platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists of the Council of Europe on the case of the judge who requires elDiario.es to reveal the source that leaked the list of assets found in the Pazo de Meirás and whose property is currently in dispute. From there, the alert is communicated to the Government of the affected State, so that it can provide a response on what it has done to address the aforementioned problem, and to the different organs of the Council of Europe (General Secretariat, Commissioner for Human Rights, Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe) for your information.
The press associations support the right of elDiario.es not to reveal the sources to the judge of the Franco case
The alert launched on November 4 details how “on September 29, 2021 an investigating judge ordered Ignacio Escolar, director of elDiario.es, to reveal a source who leaked information about a summer residence owned by the family of former dictator Francisco Franco [el Pazo de Meirás]. The order was issued by the Court of Instruction no. 29 of Madrid, chaired by the investigating judge María Cristina Díaz [ex alto cargo del PP]”.
The brief from the Platform of the Council of Europe explains that “the demand arose from an article, published on December 7, 2020 by elDiario.es journalists Paola Obelleiro and Gonzalo Cortizo, which revealed an inventory and photographs of 697 historical treasures that Franco had kept in the summer residence Pazo de Meirás “.
“In September 2020,” the alert continues, “a judge ordered the Franco family to relinquish the property, following a legal battle that ended in a ruling that ruled that it was property of the State and not of the family. In a National Heritage report on the residence, elDiario.es revealed suspicions on the part of the public body that many of the objects that the Franco family wanted to steal before returning the residence to the State included historical treasures stolen by Franco from Spanish royal collections. The article was also based on two sources who spoke to journalists. ”
As a result of the article, “the Franco family filed a criminal complaint for an alleged disclosure of confidential information,” continues the brief from the Council of Europe, “and Díaz opened an investigation to the National Heritage section responsible for the report. By letter of 29 September, Díaz ordered Escolar to indicate, within 10 days of receipt, the date the report was received from the source, such as’ the person who provided it and the procedure or means by which the report was received. report”.
“By letter of October 13, Escolar refused to reveal the source, stating that the article was in the public interest and the protection of journalistic sources is a constitutional right. The letter was published in its entirety on the elDiario website,” he concludes. the alert.
Improve the protection of journalists
This Platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists was created by the Council of Europe in 2015, in cooperation with leading international NGOs active in the field of freedom of expression and journalists’ associations to provide information that can serve as a basis for dialogue with member states on possible measures of protection or reparation for journalists.
The 14 partners of the platform are: the European Federation of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, the Association of European Journalists, Article 19, Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Censorship Index, the International Institute Press, the International News Safety Institute, Rory Peck Trust, the European Broadcasting Union, PEN International, the European Center for Press and Media Freedom and Free Press Unlimited.
This platform is a public space to facilitate the collection, processing and dissemination of information on serious concerns about the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists in the member states of the Council of Europe, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European Convention on Human rights.
Its aim is to improve the protection of journalists, better address threats and violence against media professionals and promote early warning mechanisms and response capacity within the Council of Europe.
The platform enables the Council of Europe to be alerted in time, in a more systematic way, and to take timely and coordinated action when necessary. Helps the organization identify trends and propose appropriate policy responses in the field of media freedom. Member States are expected to act and address the issues and report back to the Platform on actions taken in response to alerts.
On December 4, 2014, the Council of Europe and the partner organizations of the platform (Reporters Without Borders, International Federation of Journalists, European Federation of Journalists, Association of European Journalists and Article 19) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Today, 14 international NGOs and journalists’ associations are partners on the platform.
In accordance with the Memorandum, the platform allows contributing partners to post alerts, subject to their own verification processes and standards. Each contributing partner is responsible for the information they publish.