European Commission considers surveillance of journalists in Portugal “unacceptable” – Portugal

The vice-president of the European Commission for Values ​​and Transparency, Vera Jourova, expressed concern about the case of the order given by a Public Ministry prosecutor for the surveillance of the PSP to two journalists, Carlos Rodrigues Lima da SÁBADO and Henrique Machado da TVI. According to Vera Jourava, who presented the Second Annual Report of the Commission on the Rule of Law in the Union, “cases of threats and limitations to the professional activities of journalists” are a concern of the commission, adding that the vigilance that some “were subject”.

The case of the surveillance order given by prosecutor Andrea Marques of the Department of Investigation and Criminal Action of Lisbon (DIAP) and executed by the PSP is included in the document as one of the threats to press freedom in the European Union. As SÁBADO revealed, the PSP would only end up carrying out surveillance and collecting images of journalist Carlos Rodrigues Lima. For European commissioner Didier Reynders, “the Commission does not comment on cases that are under investigation, but we are following the situation. We are concerned about this type of situation, however, there are procedures going on in Portugal, let’s see what the results are.” said this Tuesday the Commissioner of Justice, referring to the inquiry launched by the Attorney General’s Office and whose result will be examined by the Superior Council of the Public Ministry. This inquiry, however, has already ended with the prosecutor’s acquittal, as the members of the Superior Council of the Public Ministry considered that any disciplinary offense was time-barred.

TO SATURDAY, through the CCA law firm, has already asked for consultation in the disciplinary process, but to date, despite there being a favorable decision, it has not yet been notified to react.

The efficiency of the Portuguese judicial system “remains a challenge”, especially for the administrative and tax courts, considers the European Commission, which underlines the ongoing efforts to address the shortage of human resources.

The observations are contained in the chapter dedicated to Portugal in the 2021 annual report on the rule of law in the European Union, prepared by the European Commission and released this Tuesday, which assesses developments since September last year, deepening the analysis of the issues identified in the previous report (the first ever produced by the community executive), and taking into account the impact of the pandemic.

Starting precisely by pointing out that “the efficiency of the Portuguese judicial system remains a challenge”, as it had already considered in the 2020 annual report, the community executive notes that “the Government is taking measures to respond to this challenge, in particular by strengthening administrative arbitration centers and creating rapid reaction teams”, and “measures are still underway to resolve the human resource deficit and to invest in digitalisation”.

Also in the fight against corruption, the report notes that the Government has approved the Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2020-2024, which is awaiting a vote in the Assembly of the Republic, and “proposed measures to ensure a more efficient treatment of complex corruption cases “But in this case, too, he notes that “while efforts to improve the track record of corruption investigations and prosecutions continue, judicial authorities consider the lack of resources for the police and the prosecution to be a concern.”

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