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

Guest post by prof. Dirk Voorhoof, Ghent University.*

In its decision of 9 March 2017 in Rolf Anders Daniel Pihl v. Sweden, the ECtHR 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. Although the Court’s ruling expresses concerns about imposing liability on internet intermediaries that would amount to requiring excessive and impractical forethought capable of undermining the right to impart information via internet, the decision in Pihl v. Sweden itself guarantees only minimal protection for the rights of internet intermediaries and …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

Article 10 of the Convention includes the right of access to data held by an intelligence agency

Guest post by Dirk Voorhoof, Ghent University.*

In its judgment of 25 June 2013 in the case of Youth Initiative for Human Rights v. Serbia the European Court of Human Rights has recognised more explicitly than ever before the right of access to documents held by public authorities, based on Article 10 of the Convention (right to freedom of expression and information). The judgment also recognises the importance of NGOs acting in the public interest. The judgment contains a particularly important …read more