Case Law, Strasbourg: Stomakhin v Russia, No overbroad suppression of extremist opinions and ‘hate speech’ – Dirk Voorhoof

14 06 2018

In its recent judgment in Stomakhin v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) launched the message to all domestic authorities to adopt a “cautious approach” in determining the scope of “hate speech” crimes and to avoid “excessive interference” with the right to freedom of expression, especially when action is taken against ‘hate speech’ or extremist opinions that are mere criticism of the government, state institutions and their policies and practices. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Sinkova v Ukraine, Conviction for performance art war memorial protest did not violate Article 10 – Ronan Ó Fathaigh and Dirk Voorhoof

22 03 2018

The European Court’s Fourth Section has held, by four votes to three, that a protestor’s conviction, including a suspended three-year prison sentence, for frying eggs over the flame of a war memorial, did not violate the protestor’s freedom of expression. The judgment in Sinkova v. Ukraine prompted a notable dissent, which highlighted “inconsistency” with the Court’s prior case law, and a disregard for the principle that criminal penalties are likely to have a “chilling effect on satirical forms of expression relating to topical issues.” Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Butkevich v Russia, Journalistic newsgathering during demonstrations – Dirk Voorhoof and Daniel Simons

9 03 2018

In a case about a Ukrainian journalist being arrested during an anti-globalisation protest in Russia, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Butkevich v. Russia (13 February 2018) has clarified that the gathering of information is an essential preparatory step in journalism and an inherent, protected part of press freedom. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Becker v Norway, Robust protection of journalistic sources remains a basic condition for press freedom – Dirk Voorhoof

14 10 2017

In the judgment in the case Becker v. Norway the ECtHR showed once more its concern about the importance of the protection of journalistic sources for press freedom and investigative journalism in particular. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Satakunnan Markkinapörssi Oy and Satamedia Oy v. Finland, No journalism exception for massive exposure of personal taxation data – Dirk Voorhoof

6 07 2017

After long proceedings at national level, a preliminary ruling by the CJEU on 16 December 2008 (Case C-73/07), and after the Court of Human Rights Chamber judgment of 21 July 2015, the Grand Chamber on 27 June 2017 finally found no violation of the right to freedom of expression and information in Satakunnan Markkinapörssi Oy and Satamedia Oy v. Finland. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law: Strasbourg: Pihl v Sweden: No liability for defamatory users’ comments after prompt removal upon notice – Dirk Voorhoof

22 03 2017

In its decision of 9 March 2017 in Rolf Anders Daniel Pihl v. Sweden, the Court of Human Rights has clarified the limited liability of operators of websites or online platforms containing defamatory user-generated content.The Court’s decision is also to be situated in the current discussion on how to  prevent or react on  “fake news”, and the policy to involve online platforms in terms of liability for posting such messages. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Salihu v. Sweden, Criminal conviction for purchasing illegal firearm as a form of ‘check it out’ journalism upheld – Dirk Voorhoof and Daniel Simons

6 07 2016

ExpressenInvestigative journalism sometimes operates at the limits of the law. This is especially true of what could be called ‘check it out’ journalism: reporting in which a journalist tests how effective a law or procedure is by attempting to circumvent it. A recent decision shows that those who commit (minor) offences during this type of newsgathering activity cannot count on (major) support from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Novikova v Russia, One man banned, Russia’s treatment of solo protests scrutinised – Daniel Simons and Dirk Voorhoof

12 05 2016

State DumaOne-person protests are the only kind of demonstration Russian citizens are permitted to hold without giving prior notice to the authorities. The unanimous judgment in Novikova and others v. Russia stops short of questioning this low threshold, but finds Russia in violation of Article 10 over its excessive zeal in enforcing the notification requirement through arrests and fines. Read the rest of this entry »





Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Award 2015, Rolfsen and Association of Norwegian Editors v. Norwegian Prosecution Authority – Dirk Voorhoof

13 04 2016

global-freedom-of-expressionThe Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Award for the most significant legal ruling of 2015 goes to the Supreme Court of Norway, for the ruling in the case of Rolfsen and Association of Norwegian Editors v. the Norwegian Prosecution Authority. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Bédat v. Switzerland, The conviction of journalist not a violation of Article 10, the Grand Chamber strikes again – Dirk Voorhoof

10 04 2016

European-Court-of-Human-RightsIt has become common knowledge amongst “Strasbourg observers” that the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of guaranteeing the right of freedom of expression and information. In earlier cases such as in Perna v. Italy, Pedersen & Baadsgaard v. Denmark, Lindon, Otchakovsky-Laurens & July v. France, Stoll v. Switzerland, Palomo Sánchez v. Spain, Animal Defenders International v. United Kingdom, Mouvement Raeliën Suisse v. Switzerland and more recently in Delfi AS v. Estonia and Pentikäinen v. Finland the Grand Chamber’s findings of a non-violation of Article 10 were highly controversial.

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