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19.12.2017

ECPMF on Paradise Papers legal action: "Acid test for the existence of investigative journalism"

Offshore firm Appleby, company at the core of the story of the Paradise Papers, has launched breach-of-confidence proceedings against the Guardian and the BBC.

Cayman Island mailboxes Paradise Papers - legal action against investigative journalism

In the aftermath of the latest joint investigation of 96 news outlets, called Paradise Papers, offshore company Appleby has taken legal action against two British news organisations, the BBC and The Guardian. Appleby, company at the core of the story, has launched breach-of-confidence proceedings as well as demanding the disclosure of any of the leaked 6 million Appleby documents that informed the reporting on tax dodges used by individuals and multinational companies. The Guardian and the BBC have said they intend to robustly defend the legal action.

The documents were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with a US-based organisation, the Pulitzer-prize-winning International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), that was also working on the Panama Papers.

A spokesman for the Guardian confirmed that a claim has been issued. But it "does not challenge the truth of the stories we published. Instead it is an attempt to undermine our responsible public interest journalism and to force us to to disclose documents that we regard as journalistic material."

"The claim could have profound consequences, and deter British media organisations from undertaking serious, investigative journalism in the public interest,“ he added.

The ECPMF joins its partner, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in condemning the legal action:

"This is an acid test for the existence of investigative journalism, not just in the UK," says Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.

"If journalists are forced to disclose documents and thereby probably their sources, it would endanger whistleblowing and ruin the trust in the media. We support The Guardian, the BBC and all press freedom organisations in their fight against this attack."





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