ECHR in Tierbefreier v. Germany – Monkey Business, undercover reporting by an animal rights group

The case of Tierbefreier E.V. v. Germany before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerned the dissemination of a film of 20 minutes with the title ‘’Poisoning for Profit’’, showing monkeys used for research in a laboratory. The film was based on footage made by an undercover journalist who had used a hidden camera to document how the monkeys were treated by staff and what their living conditions were like. Before the applicant association Tierbefreier E.V. made the film public parts of the footage had been showed on TV by various broadcasting companies. The content of the film consisted to a large extent of accusations that the company using the monkeys did not live up to existing legal standards for using research animals. The German courts issued an injunction against Tierbefreier …read more

European Court applies Von Hannover II criteria in defamation case

In the case of Print Zeitungsverlag GmbH v. Austria, Bezirksblatt, a regional newspaper distributed free of charge in in Tyrol in Austria, reported on an anonymous dissemination of a letter (printed in 300 copies) concerning two brothers who were both local politicians. The letter posed a number of questions about the brothers such as: “Would you buy a car from this man?”, “Is this man honest with his family?” and “Does this man have the necessary personal/professional qualifications?’’. The article in the regional newspaper was called “Anonymous campaign against M&M”. In the article the letter was published in its full length together with …read more

French court awards damages for breach of privacy to alleged mistress of French president Hollande

On 27 March 2014 French magazine Closer was ordered by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre to pay 15,000 euros in damages for breach of privacy to French actress Julie Gayet. On 10 January 2014 Closer had published an article with the title “François Hollande and Julie Gayet, the secret love of the president”, which we addressed in an earlier post. The article was accompanied by several photos including one of Gayet entering her apartment.

Gayet argued that the article was an interference with her right to private life as it described her private emotions and was published with the sole purpose of satisfying the curiosity of a certain public without in any way contributing to a debate of general interest.

Furthermore, Gayet underlined that she had never herself confirmed the allegations made by the magazine. On the contrary, she had consistently denied any such rumors. She additionally mentioned …read more