Five media companies won a ruling at the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday recognising the right of journalists to protect anonymous sources. Four British daily newspapers – the Financial Times (FT), the Independent, the Guardian and the Times – and Reuters news agency appealed to Strasbourg after British courts ordered them to hand over documents to Belgian brewing firm Interbrew. The documents would have allowed Interbrew to identify the source of a leak to the press about a planned takeover bid for South African Breweries (SAB). The Strasbourg judges ruled unanimously that the order to hand over the documents amounted to a violation of the media companies’ right to freedom of expression, under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In its judgment, the court stressed the “chilling effect” of journalists being seen to help in the identification of anonymous sources.