NME Launches New Guide For Journalists

News Media Europe and the Centre for Law and Democracy have launched a guide with concrete recommendations for journalists and editors on how to capture information about international crimes so that it may be admitted as evidence in court.

The Guide for Journalists on How to Document International Crimes aims to help news professionals who are often the first observers to arrive at international crime scenes and may be in a position to document them at an early stage, which is invaluable since evidence often degrades with time.

Iacob Gammeltoft, NME policy manager, said: “In these extraordinary times, this resource is designed to support journalists and news organisations investigating international crimes and to help them understand what kind of impact they can have.”

“This guide aims to help journalists take simple steps to increase the reliability of the information they collect, thereby enhancing the chance that a court will accept it as evidence”, said Toby Mendel, executive director of CLD.

The role of news professionals is first and foremost to inform the public, and not to collect and analyse evidence on behalf of public authorities. At the same time, news organisations are expressing a growing interest in understanding the requirements for information to be admissible as evidence in court, so as to help to hold criminal actors to account, NME said in a press release.

The guide provides advice about several legal issues in a way that is accessible to non-legal experts, including:

  • Privileges regarding the protection of confidential sources and not having to testify;
  • What constitutes an international crime;
  • Different types of evidence and basic rules regarding admissibility of evidence;
  • How to gather information in a way that promotes its legal reliability and tips on doing this;
  • Interviewing victims and witnesses.