A “human error” spurred the controversial ruling by Colombia’s Supreme Court that ordered a business magazine to reveal confidential information that led to a story on the “questionable behavior” of a former vice-minister.
The decision to force magazine Dinero to reveal emails in an investigation of former vice-minister of Water and Sanitation Leyla Rojas.
The former minister sued Dinero’s publisher after the magazine had cited confidential sources about her “questionable behavior” that reportedly benefited CCX Colombia, a mining company that subsequently hired Rojas.
The article spurred CCX to sack the former minister, who claimed the article had tarnished her reputation.
The court’s controversial decision “can be seen as … a human error and I hope it will be resolved in the appeal,” the vice-president of the court, Justice Alvaro Garcia, told newspaper El Espectador.
The decision of Justice Luis Armando Tolosa that ordered the publication to violate the principle of confidentiality cannot count on the support of the rest of the court, said Garcia.
The position that came out is not how the entire court thinks. We must protect journalists.
Supreme Court Justice Alvaro Garcia
National and international journalism organizations had criticized the court ruling and urged for a reversal of the sentence.
The confidentiality of sources is an internationally recognized principle that is enshrined in Colombia’s constitution.
“Journalists sometimes need to protect sources in order to access information that would otherwise never come to light,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said on the organization’s website.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the Colombian Supreme Court ruling that forces a business magazine to reveal its sources and urges the court to overturn its decision on appeal.
Committee to Protect Journalists
The court is expected to rule on the appeal that was filed by published Semana Publicaciones this year. The case has been dragging on since the publication of the article in 2013.