Confidentiality of sources sometimes flouted
Press freedom in Belgium is protected by the Kingdom’s 1831 constitution. A distinguishing feature of the media landscape is the clear division into two linguistic groups, Flemish and Walloons, who each have their own public broadcasters. Concentration of media ownership has reached a critical level, with a handful of businessmen owning most of the newspapers. The 2005 law on journalists’ right to the confidentiality of sources is one of the most protective in the world. Very strict conditions must be met for the authorities to be able to override this right. Only an investigating judge can give the order, and only when he feels a person’s physical safety is at stake and the required information cannot be obtained in any other way. In practice the law is sometimes flouted. There have been two recent examples of this: searches of the home of a VRT journalist and the interrogation of a reporter with the daily La Dernière Heure by the police.
13 in 2016
14.18 in 2016