Europe Must Protect Journalists From Spyware Deployed by Governments

Politically motivated Pegasus use in Poland and Hungary showcases need for regulation

20 December 2023

Advanced espionage applications destroy public trust and weaken democracy by tilting the level playing field. Their use in Europe should be limited to narrow cases such as terrorism or organised crime.

As I write this, there is still a dispute between journalists, the EU Council and the European Parliament about the shape of EU regulations regarding surveillance in member states. These are sophisticated spy applications that are able to penetrate our phones unnoticed and download all the content from there: messages (including encrypted ones), photos, calendars of meetings.

On 15 December, EU members reached an agreement: the new law will introduce requirements for media to provide transparency over ownership and it will force national governments to set up an oversight system that guarantees editorial freedom. It also requires checks on mergers and sets up a new European watchdog to oversee it all.

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Michał Kokot

Michał Kokot is a journalist at "Gazeta Wyborcza" daily. He is the author of "Poland under surveillance. How Pegasus, the most powerful spy in history, has become a tool of dirty politics".

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