Denying journalist access to asylum-seeker ‘reception centre’ in Hungary violated Article 10 ECHR

* This blog post was written by Ronan Ó Fathaigh, IVIR/Univ. Amsterdam and Dirk Voorhoof, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Legal Human Academy

In Szurovecz v. Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights has held that a refusal to grant a journalist access to an asylum-seeker ‘reception centre’ in Hungary violated his right to freedom of expression under Article 10 ECHR. The ECtHR emphasised that newsgathering, including ‘first-hand’ observation by a journalist reporting on a matter of significant public interest, is an essential part of journalistic research and …read more

ECtHR engages in dangerous “triple pirouette” to find criminal prosecution for media coverage of PKK statements did not violate Article 10

* This blog post was written by Ronan Ó Fathaigh, IVIR/Univ. Amsterdam and Dirk Voorhoof, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Legal Human Academy

The European Court’s Second Section recently found that criminal proceedings against the owner and the editor of a newspaper for having published statements by the leader of a terrorist organisation were justified and did notviolate the right to …read more

Tedx talk Nadia Plesner on the Louis Vuitton litigation

A recent Tedx talk by artist Nadia Plesner, about the litigation back in 2011 against Louis Vuitton over her art (more here in Dutch, here in English) and artistic freedom versus intellectual property. We represented Nadia in The Netherlands.

Activist’s conviction for hooliganism over ‘obscene’ protest violated Article 10 ECHR

* This blog post was written by Ronan Ó Fathaigh, IVIR/Univ. Amsterdam and Dirk Voorhoof, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Legal Human Academy

On 15 January 2019, the European Court’s Second Section unanimously found that an anti-corruption activist’s conviction for staging an “obscene” demonstration outside a prosecutor’s office, targeting a number of public officials, violated the activist’s freedom of expression. The Court in Mătăsaru v. the Republic of Moldova took the Moldovan courts to task for holding that Article 10 of the European Convention was not applicable to the activist’s protest, with the European Court reiterating that “expressive conduct” which shocks, offends or disturbs is fully protected …read more

Savva Terentyev v. Russia: criminal conviction for inciting hatred against the police violated a blogger’s freedom of expression

* Guest post By Dirk Voorhoof, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Legal Human Academy

In Savva Terentyev v. Russia the ECtHR has applied a very high level of free speech-protection for aggressively insulting and hostile comments about police officers, published on a weblog. The ECtHR observes that some of the wording in the blog post was offensive, insulting and virulent, but it found that the (emotional and sarcastic) comments as a whole could not be seen as inciting to hatred or violence. In contrast with the findings …read more

Pussy Riot, the right to protest and to criticise the President, and the Patriarch – Mariya Alekhina and Others v. Russia

* Guest post By Dirk Voorhoof, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Legal Human Academy

In its judgment of 17 July 2018 the ECtHR has found various violations of the rights of the members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot. The ECtHR found violations under Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 5 § 3 (right to liberty and security) and 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) ECHR (right to fair trial), in relation to the conditions of their transportation and detention in the courthouse, their pre-trial detention, the treatment during the court hearings (being exposed to public view in a glass dock surrounded by armed police), and restrictions to legal assistance. Most importantly the ECtHR found …read more

ECrtHR in Stomakhin v. Russia: no overbroad suppression of extremist opinions and ‘hate speech’

* Guest post By Dirk Voorhoof, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Legal Human Academy

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. The judgment of 9 May 2018, in which the ECtHR unanimously found a violation of Article 10 ECHR, sets an important …read more

Recent experience shows EU measures against fake news are problematic

The EU is stepping up its fight against fake news. It recently published a new policy document (the ‘Communication on Tackling online disinformation’ of 26 April 2018) proposing several measures against fake news.

But the EU is already actively pursuing an anti-fake news campaign, specifically directed at Kremlin disinformation. It started a website called ‘EU vs Disinfo’, where it selects articles the EU qualifies as fake news and ‘pro-Kremlin disinformation’. It is a type of naming and shaming strategy, where the EU links to the media which in its eyes are ‘disinforming outlets’. On EU vs Disinfo, the EU accused three Dutch media of spreading fake news. However, …read more

Conviction for performance-art protest at war memorial did not violate Article 10

* Guest post by prof. Dirk Voorhoof, Ghent University and Ronan Ó Fathaigh.

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 …read more

Geoblocking Regulation is final!

On February 28 Europe adopted the Geoblocking Regulation. The European Parliament, European Commission and Member States have collectively reached a final agreement. Discrimination of customers in e-commerce on the basis of their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment shall be prohibited. Streaming of copyright protected music, e-books, online games or software do not (yet) fall under the scope of the Regulation. Other services such as financial, audio-visual, transport, healthcare and social services are also …read more

The right of journalistic newsgathering during demonstrations

ECtHR in Becker: Robust protection of journalistic sources remains a basic condition for press freedom

No journalism exception for massive exposure of personal taxation data

Missed Opportunity – Dutch Supreme Court Copy-Pastes Google Spain Judgment

ECHR in Pihl v. Sweden: blog operator not liable for promptly removed defamatory user comment

Hyperlinking at one’s own risk – CJEU in GS Media / Sanoma

European Court upholds criminal conviction for purchasing illegal firearm as a form of ‘check it out’ journalism in Salihu ao v. Sweden

Top rankings for media team Kennedy Van der Laan

Google Spain in the Netherlands III: does convicted murderer have ‘right to be forgotten’?