Freedom, what freedom?

Speaking of press freedom, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Aidan White, recently said that Belgium’s poor legal protection for journalists makes it “quite inappropriate” for it to host the EU institutions.

“It seems to me”, he said, “that for Belgium to be one of the worst countries in terms of legal protection at national level for protection of sources makes it quite inappropriate to be the centre of the European Union political institutions which are responsible for the legal and economic administration of a region of 25 countries”.

His comment was sparked by the fact that Hans-Martin Tillack – a correspondent for Stern – was arrested at his home on Friday 19 March and taken to his office where computer equipment, mobile phones and files were seized.

Back home in Sweden, Jan Scherman, the Managing Director of Sweden’s largest TV channel TV4 yesterday answered questions by the Committee on the Constitution regarding allegations that the Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson in September 2002 threatened him. It was during the final weeks of the election campaign that Persson supposedly called Scherman to a meeting and threatened him with what would happen if TV4 did not change its “heavy investment” in a victory for the right wing parties.