Are Journalists to be Punished for Doing their Job?

How to Cite

Baumbach, T. (2016). Are Journalists to be Punished for Doing their Job?. Bergen Journal of Criminal Law & Criminal Justice, 4(1), 102-124.


The article analyses the current position of journalists’ criminal responsibility regarding criminal offences perpetrated during their job. The standpoint is taken at the principle of freedom of expression and the bedrock principle of the free press and emphasises the importance of these principles in a democratic society. At the same time the right to privacy is pointed out. A distinction is made between criminal law provisions that by their nature constitute a limitation of freedom of expression and criminal law provisions where this is not the case. Different types of journalistic working methods and conduct are analysed and it is concluded that even though journalists have a special status as public watchdogs – that must be taken into account in every single case – journalists are, in principle, not released from their duty to obey the ordinary criminal law. This is due to the principle of the rule of law and applies in particular if the concrete criminal law provision does not by its nature constitute a limitation of freedom of expression. The analyses have their legal basis in the European Convention on Human Rights and the Court’s case law and will further be illustrated by means of Danish case law.

Copyright (c) 2016 Trine Baumbach

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