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EU lawmakers vote to bolster protections for journalists

Controversies around exemption foreseen for using spyware

03 October, 16:28

(ANSA) - STRASBOURG, OCT 3 - EU lawmakers on Tuesday backed proposals to boost journalistic independence, but stopped short of pushing for a blanket ban on governments spying on reporters.
    The EU's Media Freedom Act was proposed by Brussels last year in the face of increased pressure facing journalists in countries such as Hungary and Poland. The legislation is aimed at protecting reporters from political interference, allowing them to keep sources secret and ensuring media pluralism across the bloc. The MEPs' vote stakes out the parliament's position on the draft law ahead of negotiations with the EU's 27 member states.
    Among the most controversial issues are exemptions foreseen for using spyware against journalists. Media activists have criticised EU states, led by France, for pushing to expand loopholes to allow authorities to spy on journalists in the name of "national security". The parliament's position limits the use of spyware as a "last resort" when journalists were involved in serious crimes such as terrorism or human trafficking, and says a judge must give clearance. (ANSA).
   

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