The actions against Stern magazine’s Brussels correspondent Hans-Martin Tillack have now reached Blogdex and Daypop, two barometers for exposure in the blogosphere. The journalist had been taken into police custody on Friday (19 March) and released after ten hours of questioning. Euobserver.com reported that according to Stern, Belgian police confiscated „material on paper, computers and cell-phones“ in his office. The Daily Telegraph’s European correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard quotes Tillack: „The police said I was lucky I wasn’t in Burma or central Africa, where journalists get the real treatment“.
Apparently, Belgian police acted on a complaint from the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF, accusing the journalist of paying money for a leaked OLAF dossier two years ago. Tillack denies ever having paid for information. Belgian law currently does not seem to secure journalists‘ right to protect their sources. The Belgian parliament is discussing a bill about such a right at the very moment (according to the Belgian association of professional journalists).
Tillack has been very critical of several EU institutions, and has himself been criticized for reducing the EU to its scandals. His latest report alleged that some MEPs had others sign their attendance records to get their daily allowance (euobserver.com story in English). By the way: There are European Parliament elections in June.