US journalist nominated for Leipzig Media Award; Judith Miller, reporter of the New York Times, taken into coercive detention

Leipzig, 7 July, 2005. Because she refused to divulge her informants, US journalist Judith Miller was sentenced to 120 days of coercive detention and was immediately taken into custody on yesterday. So, a long smouldering dispute escalated between the US government, journalists’ associations and civil rights activists. While the government regards the journalists who uphold the protection of their informants as lawbreakers in times of struggle against global terrorism, journalists’ associations and civil rights activists blame the governmental actions as a massive attack on freedom of press.

"A few weeks ago, we awarded our 'Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media' to Hans-Martin Tillack, a journalist of Stern magazine who has been briefly taken into custody by Belgian judicial machinery because of very similar motives. It is in fact the question whether more or less real security needs must stand above elementary principles of democratic societies", said Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation of the Sparkasse Leipzig.