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: MAC TV v Slovakia, Defamation of the dead, searching for clarity – Jonathan McCully

10 12 2017

On 28 November 2017, in MAC TV v. Slovakia, the European Court of Human Rights (European Court) found a violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention where the Broadcasting Council of Slovakia had fined a television programme for showing a lack of respect to the dignity of the President of Poland following his death in a tragic plane accident. 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 »





Medžlis Islamske Zajednice Brčko v Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Simple Speech Case Made Unbelievably Complex? – Stijn Smet

29 08 2017

Imagine, if you will, two scenarios. The first involves four NGOs writing a private letter to the highest authorities of a Bosnian city. “According to our information”, the NGOs state in the letter, the newly appointed Serbian director of a public radio station has displayed a problematic attitude towards Muslims and Bosniacs. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Bogomolova v. Russia, Publication of picture of 3 year old “orphan” violated Article 8 – Ingrida Milkaite

25 07 2017

The case of Bogomolova v. Russia concerns the use of an unauthorised photograph of a minor’s face on the front page of a booklet promoting adoption and help for orphans. It proves that the publication of pictures of children without parental consent may have a significant social impact on the family and may violate Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), protecting the right to private and family life. 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: Independent Newspapers v. Ireland: €1.25 million defamation award against newspaper violated Article 10 – Ronan Ó Fathaigh

25 06 2017

The European Court’s Fifth Section has unanimously held that a damages award made against an Irish newspaper for defamation violated the right to freedom of expression, under Article 10 of the European Convention. While the judgment in Independent Newspapers v. Ireland concerned Irish defamation law prior to reforms brought about in 2009, it is still significant for signalling to Irish courts that unpredictably high damages have a “chilling effect,” and require the “most careful scrutiny” and “very strong justification.” Read the rest of this entry »