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 »





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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Offensive Online Comments, Delfi confirmed but tempered – Dirk Voorhoof and Eva Lievens

17 02 2016

emt hungaryOn 2 February 2016, the European Court of Human Rights decided that a self-regulatory body (Magyar Tartalomszolgáltatók Egyesülete, MTE) and an Internet news portal (Index.hu Zrt) were not liable for the offensive comments posted by their readers on their respective websites. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Couderc v France, Grand Chamber challenges male-oriented view on keeping silence over mistress and lovechild in pivotal privacy case – Dirk Voorhoof

13 11 2015

Paris MatchThe Grand Chamber’s judgment delivered on 10 November 2015 in Couderc and Hachette Filipacchi Associés v. France elaborates on the appropriate standard for privacy and the media under European human rights law. In essence, the Court discussed the public-interest value of a disputed article published in the magazine Paris Match, revealing aspects of the private life of a public person exercising an important political function. This blog focusses in particular on women’s right to tell the story of a relationship as a matter of personal identity. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Pentikäinen v. Finland, Journalist covering demonstration must comply with police order to disperse – Dirk Voorhoof

27 10 2015

DemonstrationThe Council of Europe Task Force for Freedom of Expression and Media recently published a book entitled “Journalism at risk. Threats, challenges and perspectives”. Since a Grand Chamber judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 20 October 2015, a new threat for journalistic freedom has obviously emerged – the risk that journalists will be detained, prosecuted and convicted for disobeying a police order while covering a public demonstration. At least, that is the consequence of the judgment in the case of Pentikäinen v. Finland. Read the rest of this entry »