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Spain: Journalists stage protests for right to 'keep professional secrets'

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Spain: Journalists stage protests for right to 'keep professional secrets'
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Xose Martín/APM
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Journalists gathered in front of Spain’s Supreme Court on Friday in protest of police trying to seize documents and material from the Spanish agency Europa Press and the newspaper Diario de Mallorca.

Protesters defended the right for journalists to keep professional secrets from authorities.

The events unfolded last Tuesday when the Spanish judicial police asked Jose Francisco Mestre who works for Diario de Mallorca to hand over his mobile phone and its password.

That same day, a judicial commission seized the mobile phone, computers, and other work material belonging to Europa Press reporter, Blanca Pou, who at the time was in the Palma de Mallorca offices of the agency.

“The reporter has used her professional right not to reveal her sources and agents refused to contact the company’s legal services,” said Europa Press on their website. “The agents took her personal mobile phone, two work computers and multiple paper documents after reporting about a corruption case.”

These actions “run the risk of exposing journalistic sources in connection with a high-profile corruption case on the island” said the World Association of Journalists and News Editors (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) in a statement.

Under the hashtag #ElSecretoNoSeToca (Don’tTouchtheSecret), the protests spread to Twitter.

“Our professional secret, your right to information,” wrote Madrid’s Press Association in a tweet calling all Madrid-based journalists to join the protests.