Kenyan Court Knocks Down Criminal Defamation, Safeguards Freedom of Expression – Nani Jansen Reventlow and Catherine Anite

10 02 2017

kenya-high-courtEfforts to create more space for free expression in Africa have been strengthened by the Kenyan Judiciary. In the case of Jacqueline Okuta & Anor v. AG & Others, the High Court of Kenya on 6 February 2017 annulled section 194 of the Penal Code that provides for the offence of criminal defamation. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Gambian criminal laws challenged in Court of Justice of Economic Community of West African States

11 12 2015

EcowasOn Monday 7 December 2015, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and three exiled Gambian reporters filed a legal claim against The Gambia to challenge the pervasive culture of persecution, violence, and injustice towards journalists in The Gambia. The applicants argue that their right to freedom of expression has been violated, including through the use of criminal laws that prohibit criticism to be made of the government. Read the rest of this entry »





South Africa: The case against criminal defamation – Dario Milo

29 09 2015

Case against Criminal DefamationThe ANC has dropped a welcome bombshell, saying the law has a chilling effect on free speech. One of the most significant events in the recent South African history of free speech and media law happened last Saturday at a workshop on criminal defamation, arranged by the ANC’s legal research group. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Peruzzi v Italy, Criminal defamation is OK as long as it concerns judges – Joseph Williams

18 07 2015

260px-Consiglio_Superiore_della_MagistraturaIn the Chamber judgment in Peruzzi v Italy ([2015] ECHR 629, only in French) handed down on 30 June 2015, the Court of Human Rights dismissed an application under Article 10 by a lawyer who had been convicted of criminal defamation of a judge.  The decision is a surprising and retrograde one in the light of the recent Grand Chamber decision in Morice v France (see the Inforrm case comment). Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, African Court: Lohé Issa Konaté v Burkina Faso, Strict limits on criminalising speech in Africa – Jonathan McCully

20 01 2015

articles-incrimines-cutOn 5 December 2014, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “Court”) delivered its ground breaking judgment on freedom of expression in Lohé Issa Konaté v Burkina Faso (Application No 004/2013 [pdf] (available only in French). It is ground breaking in two distinct respects. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Belpietro v. Italy, Newspaper Editor Criminally Liable for Senator’s Op-Ed, But Prison Sentence Violated Article 10 – Ronan Ó Fathaigh and Dirk Voorhoof

11 10 2013

maurizio-belpietroNine years ago, in its landmark Cumpănă and Mazăre v. Romania judgment, a unanimous Grand Chamber laid down a rare absolute rule that prison sentences for defamation are never justified under Article 10 where the defamatory statements concern a matter of public interest. This rule against prison sentences included pardoned, suspended, or conditional sentences, effectively removing from European legislatures and courts the ability to impose such sentences. Read the rest of this entry »