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 »





Resuscitating Workplace Privacy? A Brief Account of the Grand Chamber Hearing in Bărbulescu v. Romania – Gaurav Mukherjee and James Wookey

18 01 2017

On 30 November 2016, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) heard oral arguments in Bărbulescu v. Romania. The case was referred to the Grand Chamber on 6 June 2016, after a Chamber judgment delivered on 12 January 2016.  Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Ziembiński v. Poland (No. 2), Polish mayor’s private prosecution of local journalist for insult violated Article 10 – Ronan Ó Fathaigh

30 08 2016

img_3698The European Court’s Fourth Section has held in Ziembiński v. Poland (No. 2) that a newspaper editor’s conviction for describing local government officials as “dim-witted” and a “numbskull” violated the editor’s Article 10 right to freedom of expression. Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law, Strasbourg: Kurski v. Poland: Ordering politician to publish apology for defaming Polish newspaper violated Article 10 – Ronan Ó Fathaigh

16 07 2016

gw 20130124-covThe European Court’s Fourth Section has held that a successful civil action by a newspaper against a Polish politician for alleging the newspaper had an “agreement” with an oil corporation to finance the newspaper’s “mass propaganda” against his political party, violated the politician’s freedom of expression. The opinion in Kurski v. Poland dealt with the unusual, but not rare, situation when a newspaper launches defamation proceedings against a politician for damaging its reputation, and the broader issue of ordering publication of apologies. 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 Comment, Strasbourg: Fürst-Pfeifer v Austria: “A one-sided, unbalanced and fundamentally unjust judgment”? – Stijn Smet

22 06 2016

bezirksblatt-6322In Fürst-Pfeifer v Austria, the majority of the Fourth Section of the ECtHR ruled that the applicant’s right to private life was outweighed by the freedom of expression of an online publication and offline newspaper. In one of the fiercest and most poignant dissenting opinions I have read to date, Judges Wojtyczek and Kūris label the majority judgment as “a one-sided, unbalanced and … fundamentally unjust judgment” that “panders to prejudice” against persons, like the applicant, “with a history of mental-health problems”. Read the rest of this entry »





Insulting a politician right after her death: does the ECHR protect the reputation of the deceased? – Valeska David

16 02 2016

Michael_Genner_-_Obmann_von_Asyl_in_NotAt the end of 2014, when deciding on the admissibility of a case brought by Stalin’s grandson, who sued a newspaper and the author of an article for defamation of his grandfather, the ECtHR stated that the heir of a deceased person could not claim a violation of the latter’s article 8’s rights since they are non-transferable.[1] Less than two years later, however, the recent judgment in Genner v. Austria (Application no. 55495/08) seems to cast a shadow of doubt on that principle. Read the rest of this entry »