Embargoes and the public domain

Press comment on anticipated Vatican leak

In our news round-up of 3 April we reported that the Vatican had announced that Pope Francis’s highly-anticipated post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love) on love in the family would be released on Friday 8 April. Whilst the text of the Apostolic Exhortation in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese (in paper and/or digital format) will be available to accredited journalists from 8.00 am on Friday 8 April 2016, “Amoris laetitia” is to be considered under embargo until 12 noon CET on that day.

Reader may recall that, last year, pre-release copies of the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si’ were leaked to the Italian journalist Sandro Magister when his publication, l’Espresso, published the text three days ahead of its release, Dr Magister was accused of violating the embargo and, as a consequence, had his Vatican press credentials temporarily suspended, although at the time of its suspension there was no indication on how long this would last. The events surrounding the leaked document are reported here and a fuller version of the story and its impact on other journalists was reported in The Guardian.

Article in Crux

On 3 April, John L Allen Jr, the Editor of Crux , published A refresher on embargoes ahead of new papal document in which he anticipated a repetition of the Laudato Si’ leak and gave “a brief refresher about what the word ’embargo’ actually means in journalistic practice”. Significantly, the article was endorsed by Dr Ed Peters on his Canon Law Facebook page.  Continue reading