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Archive – Legal News

UK: New criminal offences for journalists due to Digital Economy Bill 2016-17

Archive  |  14.10.2016

UK: New criminal offences for journalists due to Digital Economy Bill 2016-17 | ECPMF

by Tobias Raab
On 5 July 2016, then culture secretary John Whittingdale, who was replaced as culture secretary by Karen Bradley on 14 July 2016, introduced the Digital Economy Bill 2016-17 to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

… read more




Northern Ireland - Report on defamation law reform

Archive  |  14.10.2016

Northern Ireland - Report on defamation law reform | ECPMF

by Ronan Fahy
On 19 July 2016, the Northern Ireland Minister of Finance, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, announced the publication of a report on defamation law in Northern Ireland, written by Dr. Andrew Scott, of the London School of Economics. The 101-page report, entitled Reform of Defamation Law in Northern Ireland, includes two draft bills, and builds upon earlier work undertaken by the Northern Ireland Law Commission. A Consultation Paper had been published in N … read more




EU: New EU Data Protection Guidelines for Whistleblowing Cases

Archive  |  14.10.2016

EU: New EU Data Protection Guidelines for Whistleblowing Cases | ECPMF

by Sebastian Schweda
On 18 July 2016, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) released new ‘Guidelines on processing personal information within a whistleblowing procedure’. The Guidelines are addressed to EU institutions and bodies and aim to provide practical orientation as to how to comply with Regulation (EG) No. 45/2001, regulating the protection of personal data by these bodies, in whistleblowing cases. The main purpose of the Guidelines is to … read more




CoE: Conviction for the insult of a person through mass media according to the Polish Criminal Code violates Art. 10 ECHR

Archive  |  14.10.2016

CoE: Conviction for the insult of a person through mass media according to the Polish Criminal Code violates Art. 10 ECHR | ECPMF

by Dr. Silke Hans
The Criminal conviction and imposition of a fine on a journalist under 216(2) of the Polish Criminal Code for an article mocking local government officials violates the editor´s right of freedom of expression. With this judgment from July 5th 2016 in the Case of ZIEMBIŃSKI v. POLAND (No. 2) the European Court of Human Rights underlines the editor´s right of freedom of expression as protected under Art. 10 ECHR.

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CoE: Polish courts violated Article 10 in defamation lawsuit against a politician

Archive  |  14.10.2016

CoE: Polish courts violated Article 10 in defamation lawsuit against a politician | ECPMF

by Tobias Raab
In its judgement of 14 July 2016, the European Court of Human Rights’ Fourth Section decided that ordering a politician to publish an apology for defaming a Polish newspaper violated Article 10 of the Convention (Application no. 26115/10).

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Mayor Accused of Censoring Albania TV Report

Archive  |  11.10.2016

Mayor Accused of Censoring Albania TV Report | ECPMF

by Gjergj Erebara, BIRN Podgorica*
The producer of an investigative TV show claims it was pulled on Sunday because it probed the Mayor of Tirana’s links to a controversial recycling plant, though the TV station denies the show's content was the issue.

… read more




MEPs launch whistleblowing platform

Archive  |  27.09.2016

MEPs launch whistleblowing platform | ECPMF

by Ingrida Milkaite

The first meeting of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) was held in Brussels on 27 September. It concerned the launch of a new whistleblowing platform organised by the Greens/European Free Alliance.

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ECJ to rule on Facebook class action claim

Archive  |  26.09.2016

ECJ to rule on Facebook class action claim | ECPMF

by Ingrida Milkaite

The Austrian Supreme Court (ASC) has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify two issues associated with the Facebook privacy class action claim. The case was initiated by Austrian lawyer Maximilian Schrems five years ago.

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Fair Trial Sought for Montenegrin Investigative Reporter

Archive  |  15.09.2016

Fair Trial Sought for Montenegrin Investigative Reporter | ECPMF

by Dusica Tomovic, BIRN Podgorica*
Media organizations have demanded the release of the investigative journalist Jovo Martinovic folllowing claims that the prosecution pressured another suspect in the drug-related case to accuse him falsely.

… read more




RO: Deputies reject draft Law to cut the audiovisual licence fee

Archive  |  09.09.2016

RO: Deputies reject draft Law to cut the audiovisual licence fee | ECPMF

by Eugen Cojocariu
The Senate (upper Chamber of the Romanian Parliament) definitively rejected on 13 June 2016 the draft Law intended to abolish the audiovisual licence fee. The Chamber of Deputies (lower chamber) had rejected the project on 2 March 2016.

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Romania: Law on obligation to play the National Anthem was rejected

Archive  |  09.09.2016

Romania: Law on obligation to play the National Anthem was rejected | ECPMF

by Eugen Cojocariu
The Senate (upper Chamber of the Romanian Parliament) definitively rejected on 13 June 2016 the draft Law intended to obligate all the audiovisual media services providers under Romanian jurisdiction to broadcast daily at 7,00 a.m. the National Anthem, the complete version. The Chamber of Deputies (lower chamber) had rejected the project on 2 March 2016.

… read more




Administrative Court: A blog is not a press medium

Archive  |  09.09.2016

Administrative Court: A blog is not a press medium | ECPMF

by Gianna Iacino
On 31 May 2016, the Administrative Court of Augsburg decided that a blog is not a press medium and therefore, the author of the blog cannot assert any rights of the press act (Au 7 E 16.251).

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BE: Court of Cassation rules on the rights to be forgotten

Archive  |  09.09.2016

BE: Court of Cassation rules on the rights to be forgotten | ECPMF

by Gianna Iacino
On 29 April 2016, the Belgian Court of Cassation decided that a newspaper has to anonymise an article about a deadly car accident in its online-archive.

… read more




Challenges to the ECtHR from Russia and Turkey: Freedom of Expression on the Internet

Archive  |  09.09.2016

Challenges to the ECtHR from Russia and Turkey: Freedom of Expression on the Internet | ECPMF

by Oleg Soldatov
The regulation of the online domain is gradually being tightened: an analysis of the most recent challenges to the ECtHR in Turkey and Russia 

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Germany: Broadcast of abuse drama against the explicit wish of a victim

Archive  |  09.09.2016

Germany: Broadcast of abuse drama against the explicit wish of a victim | ECPMF

by Ingo Beckendorf
A former pupil of a school in the German District Hessen (“Odenwaldschule”), where the systematic abuse of children took place, tried to stop the broadcast of a film version of the dramatic events titled “The elected” (“Die Auserwählten”) by the German public broadcaster WDR. The District Court (“Landgericht”) Hamburg dismissed his action on the 3rd of June 2016 (rn.: 324 O 78/15).

… read more




Luxemburg: Whistleblowers condemned in LuxLeaks Trial, Journalist Acquitted

Archive  |  09.09.2016

Luxemburg: Whistleblowers condemned in LuxLeaks Trial, Journalist Acquitted | ECPMF

by Annelies Vandendriessche
On June 29th 2016, the Correctional Tribunal of Luxembourg reached a verdict on the charges brought against Antoine Deltour, Raphaël Halet and Edouard Perrin in the so-called LuxLeaks Trial. The trial concerned the leaking of over 45 000 pages of confidential documents by the three men, which revealed the tax deals concluded between large multinational companies and the Luxembourgish tax authorities (For further information on the … read more




Germany: Daily newspaper „taz“ allowed to publish picture of a politician with a stretched out arm (which looks like a Hitler salute)

Archive  |  09.09.2016

Germany: Daily newspaper „taz“ allowed to publish picture of a politician with a stretched out arm (which looks like a Hitler salute) | ECPMF

by Ingo Beckendorf
The German daily newspaper „taz“ is allowed to show a picture of the German politician and right-wing populist Björn Höcke from the right-wing party “Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)” with his right arm stretched out. Although, the photo may not be shown in combination with the initially chosen headline “Hitler salute in occident”.

… read more




Finland: Parliamentary working group makes recommendations to public service broadcaster

Archive  |  07.09.2016

Finland: Parliamentary working group makes recommendations to public service broadcaster | ECPMF

by Anette Alén-Savikko

In late 2015, Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner set up a parliamentary working group to tackle the role of the Finnish public service broadcaster, Yleisradio (Yle). Among other measures, the working group has since recommended that the scope and primary task of the service be redefined, while its financial independence should be preserved.

… read more




Spain: 40K sanctions within first year of 'gag laws'

Archive  |  06.09.2016

Spain: 40K sanctions within first year of 'gag laws' | ECPMF

by Yolanda Quintada

Spain’s new security laws are violating journalists’ right to do their jobs, according to a new defence committee that is monitoring and contesting the legal reforms.

… read more




Germany: Film version of Gladbeck hostage drama gets the green light despite murderer's personality rights issues

Archive  |  01.09.2016

Germany: Film version of Gladbeck hostage drama gets the green light despite murderer's personality rights issues | ECPMF

by Ingo Beckendorf

The planned film version of a real hostage drama, which happened in the German town of Gladbeck in 1988, is legally permissible. The general personality rights (rights over personal publicity) of one of the hostage-takers and condemned murderers do not conflict with the realisation of the film project.

… read more




Belgian court rules that killer doctor has "the right to be forgotten"

Archive  |  31.08.2016

Belgian court rules that killer doctor has

by Gianna Iacino

On 29 April 2016, the Belgian Court of Cassation decided that a newspaper has to anonymise an article about a deadly car accident in its online archive. The plaintiff is a medical doctor.

… read more




Italy gets its first Freedom of Information Act – but will it work?

Archive  |  29.08.2016

Italy gets its first Freedom of Information Act – but will it work? | ECPMF

by Gianna Iacino

In May 2016, the Italian Government passed the Freedom of Information Act. The law foresees the right of every citizen to request information from public authorities without having to give a reason.

… read more




Challenges to the ECtHR from Russia and Turkey: freedom of expression on the Internet

Archive  |  22.08.2016

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Challenges to the ECtHR from Russia and Turkey: freedom of expression on the Internet
</div> | ECPMF

by Oleg Soldatov

The Internet has offered millions of users the opportunity to access an unprecedented corpus of information, alongside the benefits of electronic communication. At the same time, regulation of the online domain is gradually being tightened, as an analysis of the most recent challenges to the ECtHR in Turkey and Russia shows.

… read more




CZ: extension of the crime of defamation on legal persons

Archive  |  18.08.2016

CZ: extension of the crime of defamation on legal persons | ECPMF

by Jan Fučík

Despite lobbying by media organizations, the Parliament of the Czech Republic has adopted an amended law extending the crime of defamation to legal persons. Broadly speaking, the Czech Republic did not abolish the criminalization of defamation for individuals but instead has introduced the criminalization of defamation for legal entities.

… read more




UK: Supreme Court prohibits publication of a threesome

Archive  |  16.08.2016

UK: Supreme Court prohibits publication of a threesome | ECPMF

by Tobias Raab
In a judgement given on May 19th 2016, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of a celebrity who had taken legal actions against the News Group Newspapers. The Court ruled with a majority of 4:1 (Case no.: [2016] UKSC 26).

… read more




UK: Ruling against inadvertently identifying a victim of sexual assault based on social media image

Archive  |  11.08.2016

UK: Ruling against inadvertently identifying a victim of sexual assault based on social media image | ECPMF

by Cristina Bachmeier
In its decision in early March, the Westminster Magistrates Court found a British newspaper, The Sun, guilty of breaking the Sexual Offence (Amendment) Act after inadvertently identifying a victim of sexual assault.

… read more




Luxemburg: The LuxLeaks Trial

Archive  |  09.08.2016

Luxemburg: The LuxLeaks Trial | ECPMF

by Annelies Vandendriessche
Antoine Deltour, Raphaël Halet and Edouard Perrin, three French nationals, were brought before the Correctional Tribunal of Luxembourg on April 26th 2016 in what is commonly referred to as the LuxLeaks Trial.

… read more




Germany: German university in Mainz has to release sponsor-contracts worth several millions

Archive  |  04.08.2016

Germany: German university in Mainz has to release sponsor-contracts worth several millions | ECPMF

by Ingo Beckendorf
The German Johannes Gutenberg-university in Mainz is obliged, to release its contracts with a sponsor to a journalist. That was decided by verdict of the Mainzer administrative court on May 11th 2016 (Az.: 3 K 636/15).

… read more




Germany: Higher Regional Court of Munich on the publication of photographs taken from social media.

Archive  |  02.08.2016

Germany: Higher Regional Court of Munich on the publication of photographs taken from social media. | ECPMF

by Cristina Bachmeier
On 17 March 2016, the Higher Regional Court of Munich (OLG Munich) decided that a newspaper is not allowed to publish the name and profile picture of a Facebook user who had posted anti-refugee comments.

… read more




Germany: Interim Injunction against Böhmermann’s poem „Schmähkritik“

Archive  |  28.07.2016

Germany: Interim Injunction against Böhmermann’s poem „Schmähkritik“ | ECPMF

by Tobias Raab
On May 17th 2016, the Regional Court (Landgericht, LG) Hamburg decided, German TV host Jan Böhmermann is not allowed to repeat his poem called “Schmähkritik” (German for “abusive criticism”), which he recited in his TV show “Neo Magazin Royale” (Case no.: 324 O 255/16). The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan not only filed a complaint with the public’s prosecution office, but he also sought an interim injunction … read more




CoE: Committee of Ministers describes the protection of journalism and safety of journalists as alarming and unacceptable

Archive  |  25.07.2016

CoE: Committee of Ministers describes the protection of journalism and safety of journalists as alarming and unacceptable | ECPMF

by Katrin Welker
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe published a Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. The Recommendation is based on the documents published by the media, non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders.

… read more




CoE: ECtHR on publishing confidential information about ongoing criminal proceedings

Archive  |  21.07.2016

CoE: ECtHR on publishing confidential information about ongoing criminal proceedings | ECPMF

by Justyna Gogolewska-Apostel
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg decided that the conviction of a journalist for publishing secret information does not violate the right to freedom of expression protected by article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

… read more




ECHR: Published psychological expertise lawfully

Archive  |  15.07.2016

ECHR: Published psychological expertise lawfully | ECPMF

by Katrin Welker
On 17 May 2016, The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided that the publication of a psychological expertise from 1993 concerning a registered psychological expert for court proceedings is not a violation of art. 8 European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR, Applications no. 33677/10 and 52340/10).

… read more




BG: Report on the activity of the Journalistic Ethics Commission

Archive  |  13.07.2016

BG: Report on the activity of the Journalistic Ethics Commission | ECPMF

by Rayna Nikolova
In 2015, the Ethics Commission for Journalistic Ethics was approached by means of 42 claims (17 of them were well-grounded) for violations of the Ethics Code of the Bulgarian Media (EC), namely of Art. 2.5. EC – ‘Discrimination’ which states:

… read more




Luxembourg – In the Making of a General Right of Access to Information

Archive  |  13.07.2016

Luxembourg – In the Making of a General Right of Access to Information | ECPMF

by Annelies Vandendriessche
On May 2nd 2016, on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, the Luxembourgish journalists’ associations seized the opportunity to highlight the need for a right of access to information in Luxembourg.[1]

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

Archive  |  29.06.2016

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

By Dirk Voorhoof and Daniel Simons
Investigative 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.

… read more




Germany: Adaption of the German Press Council's regulation to online-specific circumstances

Archive  |  21.06.2016

Germany: Adaption of the German Press Council's regulation to online-specific circumstances | ECPMF

by Katrin Welke
On 18 March 2016, the German Press Council, a Journalists Union has announced changes to the Press Code, a tool for voluntary self-regulation of the German Press. The problem of applicability and implementation of the German Press Code for online publications and thereto related user comments was the issue of discussions for a long time. Now, a first solution regarding the complaints procedure about such publications and user comments has been … read more




Poland presses the PAUSE button on new media law

Archive  |  13.06.2016

Poland presses the PAUSE button on new media law | ECPMF

by Jane Whyatt
The controversial new ’big media law’ to permanently change the face of Polish public service broadcasting has been put on hold.
Due to take effect from 1st July, the reform has sparked protests and demonstrations on the streets of the Polish capital Warsaw and all other major cities.

… read more




Germany: Old reports in online-archives of newspapers may violate personality rights

Archive  |  09.06.2016

Germany: Old reports in online-archives of newspapers may violate personality rights | ECPMF

by Sofie Luise Burger
The German Federal Court of Justice Bundesgerichtshof decided on 16 February 2016 (No. VI ZR 367/15) that reports which are not up to date anymore, but are still kept available in online-archives of newspapers, may violate personality rights. Whether it is valid to keep those reports available has to be decided by thoroughly balancing the personality rights of the affected person with the freedom of press and expression of the newspaper.< … read more




Germany: Luxury shopping of Members of Parliament

Archive  |  09.06.2016

Germany: Luxury shopping of Members of Parliament | ECPMF

by Katrin Welker
On 13 March 2016, the German Federal Administrative Court Bundesverwaltungsgericht decided that Members of Parliament have a right to confidentiality regarding their office supply purchases (no. 6 C 65.14).

… read more




Media lawyers meet in Brussels as Audio Visual Directive is reformed

Archive  |  01.06.2016

Media lawyers meet in Brussels as Audio Visual Directive is reformed | ECPMF

by Jane Whyat
Boxsets, Netflix, video on demand – all Europe’s many international TV and video services will soon be governed by a new Audio Visual Directive. Converging technologies mean that some newspapers that publish online videos (for example, Bild, the Guardian) will also be regarded as ’TV-like’ and face a new regulatory regime.

… read more




Italy: New bill proposes heavy jail sentence for defamation

Archive  |  31.05.2016

Italy: New bill proposes heavy jail sentence for defamation | ECPMF

by Alberto Spampinato, Director of Ossigeno per l'Informazione, Italy
For four years, the Italian Parliament promised to abolish prison sentences for defamation offences – but it did not so. Since 2012, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have been playing ping pong with a bill that aims to keep this promise. But neither side has approved it yet and there was no progress made for more than a year. Instead, during the coming days, the Senate is expected to … read more




ECtHR: Right to privacy not necessarily violated by repeated publication of private pictures

Archive  |  23.05.2016

ECtHR: Right to privacy not necessarily violated by repeated publication of private pictures | ECPMF

by Sofie Luise Burger
The European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR) decided on 17 march 2016 (Application no.16313/10) that the repeated publication of pictures of a famous footballer’s children by the same tabloids over a lengthy period of time does not necessarily violate article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

… read more




ECtHR: Prohibition to publish a photomontage does not violate the right to freedom of exprssion

Archive  |  18.05.2016

ECtHR: Prohibition to publish a photomontage does not violate the right to freedom of exprssion | ECPMF

by Sofie Luise Burger
On 15 March 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) declared an application of the German newspaper Handelsblatt inadmissible (Application no. 52205/11). The paper had been claiming a violation of art. 10 European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR) for having been forbidden to publish a photomontage.

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ECtHR: Conviction for publishing court proceedings is violation of the freedom of speech

Archive  |  18.05.2016

ECtHR: Conviction for publishing court proceedings is violation of the freedom of speech | ECPMF

by Sofie Luise Burger
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided on 22 March 2016 (application no. 48718/11) that the conviction of a journalist for publishing unauthorized recordings of a criminal trial violates art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

… read more




Germany: Call for boycott of an animal protection association in the Internet allowed

Archive  |  12.05.2016

Germany: Call for boycott of an animal protection association in the Internet allowed | ECPMF

By Katrin Welker
On 19 January 2016, the German Supreme Court Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) decided that a request to terminate the bank account of an interest group of fur farmers addressed to that group’s bank can be considered a legal call for boycott (AZ: VI ZR 302/15).

… read more




UK: Media not allowed to report about trials concerning terrorism

Archive  |  12.05.2016

UK: Media not allowed to report about trials concerning terrorism | ECPMF

By Katrin Welker
On 9 February 2016, the England and Wales Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal brought by a number of media organisations against continuing restrictions on reporting about a trial concerning terrorism (case no. [2016] EWCA Crim 11).

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UK: Surprise! Commission recommends stronger Freedom of Information Act

Archive  |  03.05.2016

UK: Surprise! Commission recommends stronger Freedom of Information Act | ECPMF

by Sofie Luise Burger
On 01 March 2016, a commission installed by the British government to review the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has presented its findings. After several months of review, the commission now recommends to strengthen the law in several aspects.

… read more




Germany: Supreme Court allows animal activists’ website to call for fur farm bank boycott due to freedom of expression

Archive  |  19.04.2016

Germany: Supreme Court allows animal activists’ website to call for fur farm bank boycott due to freedom of expression | ECPMF

Katrin Welker
The German Supreme Court Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) has decided that a request to terminate the bank account of an interest group of fur farmers addressed to that group’s bank can be considered a legal call for boycott (AZ: VI ZR 302/15, 19 January 2016).

… read more




A new EU Trade Secrets Directive – and a danger to media freedom?

Archive  |  15.04.2016

A new EU Trade Secrets Directive – and a danger to media freedom? | ECPMF

By Beata Walczakiewicz
The European Parliament adopted a new directive on trade secrets. But journalists’ organisations criticize the move as they fear that investigative journalism will be restricted.

… read more




Norway: Supreme Court receives Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prize

Archive  |  08.04.2016

Norway: Supreme Court receives Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prize | ECPMF

By Michelle Trimborn
The Norwegian Supreme Court was awarded the Global Freedom of Expression Prize 2015 by the Columbia University. ECPMF Executive Board member Prof. Dirk Voorhoof held the awarding speech.

… read more




Portugal found guilty of press freedom violation

Archive  |  29.03.2016

Portugal found guilty of press freedom violation | ECPMF

by Ana Ribeiro

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found the Portuguese state guilty of violating freedom of expression after a journalist was fined for broadcasting courtroom recordings without the judge’s approval.

… read more




“This affects all journalists” – Reporter ohne Grenzen sue German secret service

Archive  |  17.03.2016

“This affects all journalists” – Reporter ohne Grenzen sue German secret service | ECPMF

by Jane Whyatt and Michelle Trimborn

Reporter ohne Grenzen, the German section of Reporters Sans Frontières is suing the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German secret service, as they claim the BND is surveilling them. They are not only going to court to fight for their own rights, but to protect press freedom in Germany.

… read more




Queen complains over press report she ’wants UK to leave EU’

Archive  |  15.03.2016

Queen complains over press report she ’wants UK to leave EU’ | ECPMF

by Jane Whyatt

Her Majesty the Queen has made a formal complaint to Britain’s press regulator IPSO about a story in the Sun newspaper that claims she is anti-EU and appears under the headline ’QUEEN BACKS BREXIT’.

… read more




UK: Double murderer is allowed to stay anonymous

Archive  |  09.03.2016

UK: Double murderer is allowed to stay anonymous | ECPMF

Katrin Welker

On 27 January 2016, the Supreme Court granted a released double murderer's request to stay anonymous ([2014] EWCA Civ 1009). The murderer was suffering from severe mental illness for a long time, was convicted of murdering two persons in 1998 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 11 years. It was a particularly savage killing which had caused untold suffering to the victims and has continued to cause great grief to their families.

… read more




Ireland: Police ombudsman accessed journalists’ phone records

Archive  |  09.03.2016

Ireland: Police ombudsman accessed journalists’ phone records | ECPMF

Ronan Fahy

On 14 January 2016, The Irish Times published an article, reporting that the Irish police ombudsman (the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission - Gsoc) had accessed the mobile phone records of two journalists.

… read more




DE: Higher Regional Court on the coverage of press reports in a municipal newsletter

Archive  |  09.03.2016

DE: Higher Regional Court on the coverage of press reports in a municipal newsletter | ECPMF

Cristina Bachmeier

On 27 January 2016, the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht – OLG) of Stuttgart decided that a municipal newsletter can violate the constitutional rule of political freedom of the press. In the proceedings between a newspaper publisher and a local authority, the Court had to decide on the scope of the permissible reporting in a newsletter of the municipality. In the present case, the Court held that the municipal newsletter in question violates … read more




UK: The Miranda Case and the protection of journalistic material

Archive  |  09.03.2016

UK: The Miranda Case and the protection of journalistic material | ECPMF

Lorna Woods

David Miranda is a freelance journalist who had worked on the Snowden stories for the Guardian newspaper. He was stopped and questioned for 9 hours at an airport in the UK; items in Miranda’s possession (encrypted storage devices containing information leaked by Edward Snowden about the activities of security services) were taken from him.

… read more




ECtHR: Conviction of a human rights activist for defamation does not violate the right to freedom of expression

Archive  |  09.03.2016

ECtHR: Conviction of a human rights activist for defamation does not violate the right to freedom of expression | ECPMF

Sofie Luise Burger

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg ruled on 12 January 2016 (Application No. 55495/08) that the conviction of a human rights activist for defamation does not violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which protects the right to freedom of expression.

… read more




UK: Libel case ‘not worth the candle’ as banker had already settled case in Portugal

Archive  |  04.03.2016

UK: Libel case ‘not worth the candle’ as banker had already settled case in Portugal | ECPMF

Katrin Welker
The High Court of Justice of England and Wales decided on the 22 January 2016 (Case No: TLJ/15/0654) that there is no need to continue proceedings for defamation if the reputation of the claimant was effectively restored.

… read more




Court rules online news sites are not liable for offensive readers’ comments

Archive  |  19.02.2016

Court rules online news sites are not liable for offensive readers’ comments | ECPMF

By Dirk Voorhoof and Eva Lievens
The ECtHR recently 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. Anonymous users of MTE and Index.hu Zrt had posted vulgar and offensive online comments, following the publication  of  an  opinion on MTE and Index.hu Zrt criticising the misleading b … read more




ECtHR: Russian surveillance law violates the European Convention

Archive  |  05.02.2016

ECtHR: Russian surveillance law violates the European Convention | ECPMF

Tobias Raab
On 4 December 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided that an editor is entitled to claim to be a victim of a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), even if he is unable to allege that he had been the subject of concrete measures of surveillance or telecommunication interception (Application no. 47143/06).

… read more




Romania: TV stations fined for disrespecting those who died in Coletiv nightclub fire1

Archive  |  05.02.2016

Romania: TV stations fined for disrespecting those who died in Coletiv nightclub fire<sup>1</sup> | ECPMF

Eugen Cojocariu
On 3 November 2015, the National Audiovisual Council (Consiliul Naţional al Audiovizualului, CNA) issued the Recommendation no. 4/2015, regarding the tragic night fire in the Colectiv Club in Bucharest on 30 October 2015, which resulted in 60 dead and over 150 injured. The death toll refers to the time of writing this article (29 November 2015).

… read more




Germany: press freedom does not take precedence over relations with Ukraine and Russia

Archive  |  05.02.2016

Germany: press freedom does not take precedence over relations with Ukraine and Russia | ECPMF

Katrin Welker
On 8 December 2015, the 6th Senate of the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg decided that the federal government is not obliged to give information to a representative of the press on a report of the German ambassador in Ukraine (OVG 6 S 37.15).

… read more




Hungary: anti-terrorist surveillance law violates human rights

Archive  |  05.02.2016

Hungary: anti-terrorist surveillance law violates human rights | ECPMF

Katrin Welker
On 12 January 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, application no. 37138/14) decided that the Hungarian anti-terrorist surveillance Law is a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Article 8 ECHR protects the right to respect for private and family life, as well as the home and correspondence. The Court found that the Law is prone to abuse by Hungarian authorities.

… read more




UK - It’s official: 'journalism is not terrorism'

Archive  |  20.01.2016

UK - It’s official: 'journalism is not terrorism' | ECPMF

by Jane Whyatt
Britain's Court of Appeal has ruled that the UK's Terrorism Act is not compatible with human rights, and more protection is needed for journalists and their confidential sources and materials.

… read more




How Poland rushed through the new media law – and worse it yet to come

Archive  |  19.01.2016

How Poland rushed through the new media law – and worse it yet to come | ECPMF

by Krzysztof Kowalczyk

After the political transformation which took place in Poland in 1989, actions were undertaken so as to create independent, pluralistic public media. Work on the Broadcasting Act went on for quite a long time, as it was only on 29 December 1992 that the act was finally passed, and on 1 March 1993 that it entered into force.

… read more




What can the EU do to defend media freedom in Poland?

Archive  |  15.01.2016

What can the EU do to defend media freedom in Poland? | ECPMF

A legal briefing by Gianna Iacino
The rule of law is the legal principle which states that the law should govern a nation instead of individual government officials with their arbitrary decisions. The rule of law is a prerequisite for the protection of all fundamental values of the European Union, as they are listed in art. 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).

… read more




EU urges Poles to talk about new media laws as journalists protest

Archive  |  13.01.2016

EU urges Poles to talk about new media laws as journalists protest | ECPMF

by Jane Whyatt
Poland’s new government is under intense pressure from the EU Commission and from Europe’s journalists and media freedom campaigns. They fear the new media law aims to get rid of critical journalists and hand power over the national public broadcasting channel TVP directly to the ruling Law and Order Party.

… read more




Germany: German Court negates injunctive relief concerning research work

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: German Court negates injunctive relief concerning research work | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

In its judgement of 13 October 2015, the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg (Oberlandesgericht Hamburg) decided that an injunctive relief concerning research work can only be granted within very narrow bounds (Case 7 U 4/12).

… read more




Romania: Investigative Journalism Law Rejected by the Senate

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Romania: Investigative Journalism Law Rejected by the Senate | ECPMF

Eugen Cojocariu

On 25 February 2015, the Romanian Senate (upper Chamber of the Parliament) rejected with an overwhelming majority the Propunerea legislativă privind înfiinţarea Fondului Special pentru Jurnalismul de Investigaţie (Draft Law on setting up the Special Fund for the Investigative Journalism). The final decision belongs to the second Chamber, the Chamber of Deputies.

… read more




Macedonia: Amendments to the Law on the Public Procurement [1]

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Macedonia: Amendments to the Law on the Public Procurement<sup> [1]</sup> | ECPMF

Borce Manevski

The latest amendments to the Law on the Public Procurement (Законот за јавни набавки), which are now at the end of the year 2014 in a stage of second reading in the parliamentary procedure, allow the state and public institutions to advertise in the media without the possibility of a public bidding in favor of the competitors on the media and advertising markets. The amendments to Article 2 of the Law on the Public Procuremen … read more




Germany: On the admissibility of personally-identifying information in reporting about ongoing investigation proceedings

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: On the admissibility of personally-identifying information in reporting about ongoing investigation proceedings | ECPMF

Cristina Bachmeier

The Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht - OLG) Karlsruhe ruled on 2 February 2015 (case no. 6 U 130/14) that the interest of the public to be informed is justifying a news report about an ongoing investigative procedure which might lead to the identification of the person reported about.

… read more




ECJ: Commission has to enable access to written submissions

Archive  |  13.01.2016

ECJ: Commission has to enable access to written submissions | ECPMF

Ingo Beckendorf

The Commission may not automatically refuse the access to written submissions of the Member States in a lawsuit in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), with the reason that the written submissions are documents of the court. This was ruled by the ECJ by decision on 27 February 2015 (case no.T-188/12).

… read more




Germany: Federal Supreme Court delivers judgment on claimforrectification in case of initially admissible articles on suspicion

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: Federal Supreme Court delivers judgment on claimforrectification in case of initially admissible articles on suspicion | ECPMF

Tobias Raab, Cristina Bachmeier

The German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) ruled in its decision of 18 November 2014 that, while affected people do not have a right on rectification after the suspicions have been cleared out, they can demand a postscript, making clear that the initially admissible suspicion had turned out to be wrong (case no. VI ZR 76/14).

… read more




ECtHR: Conviction of journalists for an interview using a hidden camera infringed their freedom of expression

Archive  |  13.01.2016

ECtHR: Conviction of journalists for an interview using a hidden camera infringed their freedom of expression | ECPMF

Cristina Bachmeier

The European Court of Human Rights held in its judgement from 24 February 2015, in the case of Haldimann and Others v. Switzerland (application no. 21830/09), that the conviction of four journalists, for having recorded and broadcast an interview of a private insurance broker without his consent by using a hidden camera, infringed their freedom of expression.

… read more




Germany: Court orders disclosure of names of parties that take part in judicial cases

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: Court orders disclosure of names of parties that take part in judicial cases | ECPMF

If a representative of the press requests information about the names of persons who participated in court proceedings, this request is to be granted regularly, decided the German Federal Administrative Court Bundesverwaltungsgericht (BVerwG) on 1 October 2014 (case no: 6 C 35.13).

… read more




ECtHR: Right to information according to Art. 10 ECHR – Press or anybody?

Archive  |  13.01.2016

ECtHR: Right to information according to Art. 10 ECHR – Press or anybody? | ECPMF

The ECtHR rejected on 6 January 2015 a German’s appeal and ruled that public authorities do not necessarily infringe Art. 10 of the Convention by refusing to give information (application no. 70287/11). 

… read more




United Kingdom: Articles in newspapers caused serious harm

Archive  |  13.01.2016

United Kingdom: Articles in newspapers caused serious harm | ECPMF

Ingo Beckendorf

Damage to the reputation of a natural person caused by articles in newspapers must be proved and cannot be presumed. That was decided by the England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division, Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 2242 (QB)) on 30 July 2015. The judgment dealt with five articles which were released in online and hard copy versions of several newspapers. The Court had to decide whether the articles caused or were likely to cause serious … read more




Germany: Public Interest in Disclosing Hairstylist Name

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: Public Interest in Disclosing Hairstylist Name | ECPMF

Cristina Bachmeier

In its decision of 13 January 2015, the German Federal Supreme Court allowed the publication of the full name of a known hairstylist in an article about the criminal conviction of one of his branch managers (case no. VI ZR 386/13).

… read more




The French Intelligence Bill

Archive  |  13.01.2016

The French Intelligence Bill | ECPMF

Elisabeth Quillatre

Reacting to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and only a few months after the adoption of the French Anti-Terrorism Act on 13 November 2014, the government decided to reinforce the provisions relating to the fight against terrorism and to tighten its laws on crimes committed on the Internet. As a consequence, on 19 March 2015, the French Prime Minister before the National Assembly presented a new bill on intelligence.

… read more




Germany: The protection of business secrets does not rule out the right of the press to be informed by government estate agencies

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: The protection of business secrets does not rule out the right of the press to be informed by government estate agencies | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

On 25 March 2015 the Federal Administrative Court of Germany in Leipzig ruled that representatives of the press can demand information about facts that protect business secrets from government agencies, if their right to be informed outweighs the interest of business secret protection.

… read more




Germany: No claim for remittance of an unenforceable criminal judgement to the press

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: No claim for remittance of an unenforceable criminal judgement to the press | ECPMF

Cristina Bachmeier

On 13 March 2015, the Thuringian Higher Administrative Court rejected in its decision (case no. 1 EO 128/15) the request of a representative of the press, to send a copy of a non-final criminal verdict, still subject to appeal.

… read more




Bulgaria: Declaration of the Council for Electronic Media on the right of privacy

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Bulgaria: Declaration of the Council for Electronic Media on the right of privacy | ECPMF

Rayna Nikolova

On 08 July 2015 the Bulgarian state media authority for electronic media, Council for Electronic Media (CEM) adopted a declaration (public statement) which found an insufficient respect of personal privacy and personal data in media content and in the methods of its production. The Council reminds that the publication of personal information and data should be proportionate and not go beyond what is necessary to satisfy the legitimate public interest. M … read more




Germany: No priority for media filing first FoI request

Archive  |  13.01.2016

Germany: No priority for media filing first FoI request | ECPMF

Cristina Bachmeier

On 12 March 2015 (case no. 27 K 183.12) the Administrative Court in Berlin denied the right of a journalist to have a "timeliness priority" (Recht auf Aktualitätsvorsprung).

A journalist requested access from the Office of the Federal Chancellor to files concerning the training of terrorists in Yemen, the three victims of the so-called "German Autumn" and the hijacking of the Lufthansa plane "Landshut". Three months later, the pre … read more




United Kingdom: Member of Parliament loses libel action against Sunday times

Archive  |  06.01.2016

United Kingdom: Member of Parliament loses libel action against Sunday times | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

With decision of 25 November 2015, the High Court of England dismissed an action by Tim Yeo, former Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, against Times Newspapers (Case HQ14D01146).

… read more




United Kingdom: Court of Appeal rules on the expectation of privacy in public

Archive  |  06.01.2016

United Kingdom: Court of Appeal rules on the expectation of privacy in public | ECPMF

Ass. iur. Gianna Iacino

On 20 November 2015, in the case Weller and Ors v. Associated Newspaper Ltd ([2015] EWCA Civ 1179 – Case No.: A2/2014/2190) the England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) held that children have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they are on a family shopping trip.

… read more




Romania: Social Defamation Act Adopted by Senate

Archive  |  06.01.2016

Romania: Social Defamation Act Adopted by Senate | ECPMF

Eugen Cojocariu

On 7 October 2015, the Senate (upper Chamber of the Romanian Parliament) adopted the Act on Social Defamation, initiated by the Member of Parliament Liviu Dragnea, President of the Social Democratic Party, PSD, former main ruling party in Romania. The Act has to be discussed and voted by the lower Chamber of the Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. Acording to art. 1 d of the Act, social defamation is an act or an allegation that puts a person in a posit … read more




Macedonia: The Law on Prohibition of Public Revelation of Illegally Recorded Audio-Visual Materials may restrict the Media Freedom*

Archive  |  06.01.2016

Macedonia: The Law on Prohibition of Public Revelation of Illegally Recorded Audio-Visual Materials may restrict the Media Freedom* | ECPMF

Borce Manevski

In October 2015, the Law on the Prohibition of Owning, Editing, Publishing and the Usage of Materials, which come from Illegal Communications' Surveillance (Zakon za zabrana za poseduvanje, obrabotka, objavuvanje i raspolaganje so materijali koi proizleguvaat od nezakonsko sledenje na komunikaciite) – was proposed by two Members of the Parliament from the ruling majority and aims to prevent the media from publishing wiretapped conversations of highest p … read more




Latvia: Discussions about Municipal Newsletters and Media Independence

Archive  |  06.01.2016

Latvia: Discussions about Municipal Newsletters and Media Independence | ECPMF

Ieva Andersone, LL.M

Within the last year, in Latvia there have been numerous debates on the rights of local governments to publish their newsletters with editorial content and paid advertisements. The local governments are referring to their duty to provide information to their municipalities, but journalists and media are worried about the potential impact to free competition and media independence. The response from public and legal authorities so far h … read more




Finland: Report assessing the Finnish media market

Archive  |  06.01.2016

Finland: Report assessing the Finnish media market | ECPMF

LL.D Anette Alén-Savikko

A Working Group for assessing the Finnish media market was set up by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Anne Berner, in the beginning of August 2015. The Working Group was led by professor Anssi Vanjoki, a former Nokia director, while other members included executive Mikael Jungner, a former director of the Finnish Public Service Broadcaster (PSB), Yleisradio (Yle), writer Kalle Isokallio, a former Nokia executive, and journalist Ree … read more




Germany: German Press Council deals with coverage of refugee crisis and footage of murder in front of the recording camera

Archive  |  06.01.2016

Germany: German Press Council deals with coverage of refugee crisis and footage of murder in front of the recording camera | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

On the 2nd of December 2015, the German Press Council had to deal with complaints about the coverage of the refugee crisis in German media. Nineteen of these complaints were addressed against several newspapers who had shown pictures of a drowned boy in their print and online articles, whose dead body had been found at a beach in Bodrum (Turkey).

… read more




ECtHR: Blocking of access to YouTube is a violation of the freedom of expression

Archive  |  06.01.2016

ECtHR: Blocking of access to YouTube is a violation of the freedom of expression | ECPMF

Ass. jur. Gianna Iacino

On 1 December 2015, in the case Cengiz and Others v Turkey (appl. no. 4822610 and 14027/11), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held, that the blocking of access to YouTube is a violation of the right to freedom of expression according to article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECtHR).

… read more




ECtHR: Convicting a journalist for disobeying police did not violate his rights

Archive  |  02.12.2015

ECtHR: Convicting a journalist for disobeying police did not violate his rights | ECPMF

Ass. jur. Robin Zeiger

The Judgement of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR of 20 October 2015 (Application no. 11882/10) states that a criminal conviction of a journalist who disobeyed  a police order while covering a public demonstration does not violate the right of freedom of expression according to Art. 10 of the Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

… read more




ECtHR: Decision on report about Prince Albert of Monaco’s love child

Archive  |  02.12.2015

ECtHR: Decision on report about Prince Albert of Monaco’s love child  | ECPMF

Ass. jur. Robin Zeiger

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held unanimously, that there had indeed been a violation of the freedom of the expression according to Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). The case concerned the balancing of the protection of the right of freedom of expression of a press member and the right of the protection of privacy and the reputation and rights of others (case "Couderec and Hachette Filipacchi Associés v. … read more




UN-Report requests protection for whistle-blowers

Archive  |  02.12.2015

UN-Report requests protection for whistle-blowers | ECPMF

Gianna Iacino

Mr David Kaye is the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. He was appointed by the Human Rights Council, an inter-governmental body within the UN system.

… read more




Germany: Teacher violated 12-year-old pupil’s rights by naming her in book

Archive  |  27.11.2015

Germany: Teacher violated 12-year-old pupil’s rights by naming her in book | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

In its judgement of 15 September 2015 the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof - BGH) has decided that a pupil’s personality rights were violated when a teacher published a book in which she describes the pupil’s classroom behaviour (Case VI ZR 175/14).

… read more




Bosnia/Herzegovina: no breach of press freedom if you don’t check your facts

Archive  |  27.11.2015

Bosnia/Herzegovina: no breach of press freedom if you don’t check your facts | ECPMF

Robin Zeiger

In its judgment of 13 October 2015 (Application no. 17224/11), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held, by four votes to three, that there had been no violation of the freedom of expression according to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

 

In May 2003, the applicants, all Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), wrote a letter to the highest authorities of the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzego … read more




France: new anti-terror measures legalised just days before Paris attacks

Archive  |  27.11.2015

France: new anti-terror measures legalised just days before Paris attacks | ECPMF

Elisabeth Quillatre

Only a few days before the series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis, on 13 November 2015, the French Government decided to legalise the surveillance of international electronic communications by French intelligence services with the adoption of a new Bill on international surveillance.

 

Once again, the government initiated a fast-track procedure as it did for the adoption o … read more




Germany: Court decides police must have a concrete reason in terms of protecting the public before they can check a protestor’s ID

Archive  |  11.11.2015

Germany: Court decides police must have a concrete reason in terms of protecting the public before they can check a protestor’s ID | ECPMF

Katrin Welker

The German Constitutional Court has announced that the constitutional justification for the verifying the identity of a protester – by observation or through a request to hand over the identification card – requires a concrete threat to public security and order.

… read more




Sweden: journalist and editors fined for buying a gun to show in a report just how easy it is

Archive  |  11.11.2015

Sweden: journalist and editors fined for buying a gun to show in a report just how easy it is | ECPMF

Christoffer Lundmark & Michael Plogell

The Swedish Supreme Court ("SSC") has considered a prosecution against a journalist who was accused of violating the Swedish gun law (“GL”). In 2007 the journalist had, in connection with a reporting assignment, purchased a gun on the illegal market. The SSC substantially evaluated the question at a hearing in March 2015 of whether the journalist’s purpose could affect the assessment of both responsibility and sa … read more




Germany: Axel Springer must pay record damages for violating privacy in rape trial reports

Archive  |  11.11.2015

Germany: Axel Springer must pay record damages for violating privacy in rape trial reports | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

On 30 September 2015, the Regional Court of Cologne (Landgericht Köln awarded a record compensation amount of 635,000 EUR to the former weather presenter Jörg Kachelmann in a lawsuit against the publishing house Axel Springer (Cases 28 O 2/14 and 28 O 7/14).

… read more




Turkish politician has the right to publicly deny Armenian genocide - ECtHR

Archive  |  11.11.2015

Turkish politician has the right to publicly deny Armenian genocide - ECtHR | ECPMF

Katrin Welker

On 15 October 2015, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided that the criminal conviction of the Turkish politician Doğu Perinçek was a violation of his right to freedom of expression, according to article 10 European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR, application no. 27510/08).

… read more




Ireland: Court overturns € 900,000 defamation award against newspaper

Archive  |  11.11.2015

Ireland: Court overturns € 900,000 defamation award against newspaper | ECPMF

Ronan Fahy

On 19 October 2015, the Court of Appeal set aside a € 900,000 defamation award made against the Sunday World newspaper. The award had been made by a High Court jury in 2008, following successful defamation proceedings taken by an individual over a Sunday World article which had described him as a "drug kingpin".

… read more




Germany: Press Council reprimands on murder, rape and hidden advertising

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Germany: Press Council reprimands on murder, rape and hidden advertising | ECPMF

Katrin Welker

The German Press Council, which is – inter alia – responsible for the evaluation of complaints against journalistic reports based on the press code, published a press release on 13 March 2015, issuing seven public reprimands, 17 disapprovals and 42 advisory notices.

… read more




Bulgaria: print and broadcast watchdogs merge to form new Ethical Committee

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Bulgaria: print and broadcast watchdogs merge to form new Ethical Committee | ECPMF

Rayna Nikolova

On 21 January 2015, twelve new members of the national Ethical Journalism Committee in Bulgaria began their work.

The members of the committee were elected by the Board of Founders of the “National Council on Journalistic Ethics” foundation, which includes representatives of some of the most influential media organisations in Bulgaria – The Association of Bulgarian broadcasters – ABBRO, the Bulgarian Union of Publishers, the Media Devel … read more




Germany: The German Press Council updates guidelines on user-generated content

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Germany: The German Press Council updates guidelines on user-generated content | ECPMF

Ingo Beckendorf

The German Press Council has supplemented the requirements for an ethical press on the internet. In its meeting, held on 3 November 2014 in Berlin, the self-regulatory body adopted additional journalistic guidelines and updated some of the existing ones.

During the revision of the Press Code, special attention was given to the second chapter on duty of care where a new guideline was introduced, namely the "User Generated-Content".

… read more




Bosnia and Herzegovina: New Republika Srpska law on public order restricts social networks

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Bosnia and Herzegovina: New Republika Srpska law on public order restricts social networks | ECPMF

Maida Ćulahović

Narodna skupština Republike Srpske (the National Assembly of Republika Srpska - RS), one of the two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, passed a controversial new Law on Public Peace and Security (5 February 2015). This happened despite numerous concerns from the opposition, human rights activists and watchdogs, media, NGOs and foreign embassies of the devastating effects it might have for freedom of speech on the Internet. The proposed provisions had … read more




Germany: an injunction on one news website does not prevent publication on other sites

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Germany: an injunction on one news website does not prevent publication on other sites | ECPMF

Ingo Beckendorf

The German Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht Hamburg – case no. 7 W 24/15 | 18 February 2015) decided that an injunction order against journalists, which prohibits them from publishing an article, does not oblige them to prevent other media companies from publishing the same article.

… read more




Germany: Court rules police were right to order journalist to move during protest

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Germany: Court rules police were right to order journalist to move during protest | ECPMF

Katrin Welker

The dismissal of a journalist by the police during a demonstration may be lawful, as it was decided by a German administrative court (VG Köln | no. 20 K 5427/13 | 23 April 2015).

The plaintiff is a journalist who was at a demonstration about coal mining at the end of August 2013. The representatives of the press were assigned at a certain point of a bridge above a railway line where they had a good overview of the action.

 

When t … read more




Germany: Violations of Press Code during the reporting on Germanwings crash

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Germany: Violations of Press Code during the reporting on Germanwings crash | ECPMF

Ingo Beckendorf

The German press was allowed to name and to portray the co-pilot of the Germanwings-Flight 4U9525 in most cases. That was announced by the German Press Council in a press release dating from 4 June 2015.

However, as far as the victims of the disaster and their relatives are concerned, it was unacceptable to release photos of them in the press. This result was found by the boards of complaint of the Press Council after intensive consultations … read more




Estonia: Delfi case means that online news portal is responsible for user comments that offend

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Estonia: Delfi case means that online news portal is responsible for user comments that offend | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

Imposing a fine on the operator of an online forum due to offending user comments does not violate Art. 10 ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Delfi AS v. Estonia (Application no. 64569/09).

The basis of this decision was formed by a case, in which the plaintiff had been anonymously insulted by offending and threatening user comments in the Estonian online news forum “Delfi”. Comments had only been deleted by the media after the pla … read more




Romania: Satirist wins Freedom of Expression case

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Romania: Satirist wins Freedom of Expression case | ECPMF

Gianna Iacino

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared a human rights violation in Romania on 07 July 2015. A journalist and satirist had been convicted on criminal defamation charges for publications in a satirical magazine by a Romanian County Court.

In the context of the 2004 presidential elections the journalist published several articles about the political adviser of one of the presidential candidates in a satirical magazine. In these articles th … read more




Iceland: Journalist’s rights violated over cocaine smuggling case

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Iceland: Journalist’s rights violated over cocaine smuggling case | ECPMF

Gianna Iacino

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that the criminal conviction of an Icelandic journalist for the reporting on unproven criminal investigations was a violation of the journalist’s right to freedom of expression (02 June 2015).

In July 2007, the journalist published an article in a paper on several criminal procedures against an alleged cocaine dealer. Under the headline: "Scared cocaine smugglers" the journalist repor … read more




Northern Ireland: High Court allows publication of articles identifying murder suspect

Archive  |  03.11.2015

Northern Ireland: High Court allows publication of articles identifying murder suspect | ECPMF

Katrin Welker

The High Court of Northern Ireland dismissed an action for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the identifying reporting on a murder suspect (No. [2015] 74 NIQB/26 August 2015).

The plaintiff had been detained on suspicion of the murder of a drug dealer from 27 October 2012 until 30 October 2012. The plaintiff appealed the decision of the court to extend his pre-trial detention. There were reports on the review hearings, and the court’s decis … read more




Germany: The Netzpolitik case – what it means for media freedom law

Archive  |  28.10.2015

Germany: The Netzpolitik case – what it means for media freedom law | ECPMF

Gianna Iacino

Germany is facing an intense public debate on the role of investigative journalism and the freedom of the press, after the Federal Attorney General in May 2015 initiated investigations for treason against two journalists Andre Meister and Markus Beckedahl of the German blog "netzpolitik.org" and as a result was sent into retirement by the Minister of Justice.

… read more




Sweden: Supreme Court’s decision on search warrant for source’s electronic images in Aftonbladet Hierta’s editorial office

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Sweden: Supreme Court’s decision on search warrant for source’s electronic images in Aftonbladet Hierta’s editorial office | ECPMF

Malin Hurtig

On 16 June 2015 the Swedish Supreme Court suspended the execution of a search warrant of an editorial office. The Court amended the Court of Appeal’s decision and rejected the petition concerning the search of the premises. The Court ruled that the execution would not take place until further notice.

The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet Hierta AB had received photos from a sender which depicted two men who could have been involved in a robbery in … read more




Latvia: Proposal to make criminal defamation a public prosecution instead of a private process of accusation

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Latvia: Proposal to make criminal defamation a public prosecution instead of a private process of accusation | ECPMF

Ieva Andersone

The Latvian Criminal Law, adopted in 1998, contains a criminal liability provision for defamation, including defamation in mass media. There have been arguments on whether this provision impairs the freedom of the press, but nevertheless, the article 157 so far has remained in the Latvian Criminal Law. It provides that a person who knowingly distributes fictions about another person, knowing them to be untrue and defamatory, in printed or otherwise reprod … read more




Ireland: Court orders Ryanair airline and Channel Four TV to reveal their documents

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Ireland: Court orders Ryanair airline and Channel Four TV to reveal their documents | ECPMF

Ronan Fahy

In August 2013, Channel 4 broadcast an episode of its investigative programme entitled “Secrets from the Cockpit”, which included a number of allegations against the airline Ryanair on its passenger safety. The airline issued defamation proceedings against Channel 4, and a number of newspapers which had carried stories on the documentary. The publishers of The Independent, The Mirror, Daily Mail, and the Belfast Telegraph, all issued apologies to Ryanair … read more




Finland: Revision concerning confidentiality of sources

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Finland: Revision concerning confidentiality of sources | ECPMF

Anette Alén-Savikko

In June 2015, a revision of the provisions concerning confidentiality of sources took place in the context of an overall modernization of procedural legislation. The new provisions enter into force on 1 January 2016. Regarding the substance, much was not changed as the amendments rather tackle the numbering and division of some provisions. However, new provisions were also introduced while a few changes appear especially interesting to journalists. … read more




Germany: Ministry must not always redact personnel files that show employees’ Nazi past

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Germany: Ministry must not always redact personnel files that show employees’ Nazi past | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

With a verdict of 10 of August 2015, the Higher Administrative Court of Münster (Oberverwaltungsgericht Münster) decided that the German Federal Ministry for Agriculture must allow a journalist the inspection of an expert opinion on the Nazi past of its former employees. The decision, in part, also includes redacted areas of the opinion. (Case 8 A 2410/13).

In the specific case, a journalist had requested permission from the Federal Ministry for … read more




Germany: Court orders newspaper to delink online articles so they do not appear in searches and uphold the right to be forgotten

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Germany: Court orders newspaper to delink online articles so they do not appear in searches and uphold the right to be forgotten | ECPMF

Tobias Raab

On 7 July 2015, the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg decided that the right to be forgotten can be claimed against the provider of an online archive of a newspaper (Case no. 7 U 29/12).

The plaintiff applied for injunctive relief against the publisher of a newspaper and operator of the newspaper’s website. This website did not only offer reports on the current events of the day, but also stored past articles in an online archive. Among those art … read more




Finland: “Eight year tax case is excessive to rule on balance between freedom and privacy” says ECHR

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Finland: “Eight year tax case is excessive to rule on balance between freedom and privacy” says ECHR | ECPMF

Sebastian Schweda

A prohibition, issued by Finnish authorities, to publish taxation data of a large number of Finnish citizens does not violate the right to freedom of expression and information, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in a judgment handed down on 21 July 2015.

In fact, according to the ECtHR the authorities had struck a fair balance between the competing rights to freedom of expression and information (Art. 10 of the European Conve … read more




Bulgaria: Decisions in Nepal earthquake and ‘Paparazzi’ TV show privacy cases

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Bulgaria: Decisions in Nepal earthquake and ‘Paparazzi’ TV show privacy cases | ECPMF

Rayna Nikolova

In July 2015, the Ethics Commission of Journalism Ethics (the Commission) had to decide upon complaints regarding the infringement of the right to privacy in two separate cases.

One complaint had been filed because of the broadcast of a report in the evening news of the TV channel BTV of 26 April 2015. The report informed viewers in detail about the earthquake in Nepal and the fate of several Bulgarian climbers who were in Nepal at the time of … read more




Bulgaria: two decisions on TV shows accused of discriminating against Roma

Archive  |  16.10.2015

Bulgaria: two decisions on TV shows accused of discriminating against Roma | ECPMF

Rayna Nikolova

In July 2015, the Ethics Commission of Journalism Ethics (the Commission) had to rule on complaints concerning the discrimination of Roma on two TV shows.

The Commission received the first complaint for discrimination from a citizen of Roma origin regarding the program on the channel BTV which aired on 8 April 2015. On the program, a Member of Parliament from the "Patriotic Front" party was interviewed about the changes in the election laws and … read more




France: preventing another Charlie Hebdo with new surveillance powers?

Archive  |  16.10.2015

France: preventing another <em>Charlie Hebdo </em>with new surveillance powers? | ECPMF

Elisabeth Quillatre

Reacting to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and only a few months after the adoption of the French Anti-Terrorism Act on 13 November 2014, the government decided to reinforce the provisions relating to the fight against terrorism and to tighten its laws on crimes committed on the Internet. As a consequence, on 19 March 2015, the French Prime Minister presented a new bill on intelligence to the National Assembly.

The purpose of this new bill is … read more




Criminal proceedings against editors in
Latvian Criminal Law

Archive  |  13.10.2015

Criminal proceedings against editors in <br /> Latvian Criminal Law | ECPMF

The Latvian Criminal Law, adopted in 1998, contains a criminal liability provision for defamation, including defamation in mass media. There have been arguments on whether this provision impairs the freedom of the press, but nevertheless, the article 157 so far has remained in the Latvian Criminal Law. It provides that a person who knowingly distributes fictions about another person, knowing them to be untrue and defamatory, in printed or otherwise reproduced material, as well as orally, is p … read more




German Supreme Court: press gets no access to intelligence information about NSA

Archive  |  22.09.2015

German Supreme Court: press gets no access to intelligence information about NSA | ECPMF

German courts have ruled on three important cases concerning the freedom of information law. They decided it was fine for journalists to request and publish the Parliament’s research into extra-terrestrial life in space, and other scientific research. But they ruled that lists of companies and citizens in Germany who collaborate with the American security services must remain secret. All these cases were legal fights between journalists on the one hand and public institutions on the other h … read more




ECtHR decision: right of privacy vs. data journalism in Finland

Archive  |  21.09.2015

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After proceedings at national level over eight years, and after a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJUE) on 16 December 2008 (Case C-73/07), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has delivered a judgment in a highly interesting case of conflicting rights between the right of privacy and the right to freedom of expression, in the domain of protection of personal data and data journalism. The Court has come to the conclusion that a prohibition issued by the … read more




UK data retention law breaks European Convention on Human Rights

Archive  |  14.09.2015

UK data retention law breaks European Convention on Human Rights | ECPMF

The UK government’s law on data retention has been declared illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights. It follows a court battle by campaigners including the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Two High Court judges have ordered that the Data Retention Investigatory Powers Act (known as DRIPA) must cease on March 31st 2016.

DRIPA was rushed through the Parliament in July 2014. It was a response to the EU directive that made it illegal for the authorities … read more




Conviction of Icelandic journalist for reporting about sex abuses violated human rights

Archive  |  09.08.2015

Conviction of Icelandic journalist for reporting about sex abuses violated human rights | ECPMF

In Erla Hlynsdottir v. Iceland (no. 2), an Icelandic journalist had been convicted for defamation after reporting that the director of a Christian rehabilitation centre and his wife had been involved in sex games with patients of the centre. The European Court … read more




ECtHR defends hidden camera’s role in watchdog journalism

Archive  |  09.08.2015

ECtHR defends hidden camera’s role in watchdog journalism | ECPMF

Haldimann and Others v. Switzerland, a decision of the European Court of Human Rights (the “ECtHR”) published on 24 February 2015, backed the investigative methods of four Swiss journalists who had used hidden cameras to expose the malpractice of insurance brokers. The ECtHR found by a majo … read more




EU review wrongly applies precedent on whistle blowing

Archive  |  09.08.2015

EU review wrongly applies precedent on whistle blowing | ECPMF

The report drawn up by law professor Jean Paul Jacqué that reviews EULEX’s handling of the whistleblowing case of Maria Bamieh (briefly explained below) reveals that European Union institution employees reporting irregularities do not enjoy protection under the right to freedom of expression. The expert’s narrow and wrong interpretation of whistleblowing protection could discourage other EU employees from voicing their concerns on matters of public interest. … read more




EU Enlargement commissioner presses Balkan governments on media freedom

Archive  |  09.08.2015

EU Enlargement commissioner presses Balkan governments on media freedom | ECPMF

EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn told a BIRN conference that media freedom in the Balkans has become a major concern that must be addressed urgently.

Hahn said that media freedom in the Balkans “remains of particular concern” to the European Commission – particularly the issues of government meddling and threats to the independence of public broadcasters.

“We face important challenges that need to be addressed urgently,” Hahn said i … read more




Applause for new UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on protection of journalists

Archive  |  09.08.2015

Applause for new UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on protection of journalists | ECPMF

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović welcomed the UN Security Council’s passing today of Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists.

“With this Resolution, the UN Security Council puts focus on a very important issue for media freedom,” Mijatović said. “We are witnessing attacks on members of the media every day and states need to do more to improve journalists’ safety.”

… read more




Azerbaijan’s crackdown on freedom of expression

Archive  |  08.08.2015

Azerbaijan’s crackdown on freedom of expression | ECPMF

Human rights officials highlight the crackdown on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan ahead of the inauguration of the European Games in Baku.

On June 12 the first European Games begin in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. More than 6,000 athletes from 50 countries will run, fight and jump for medals, igniting the passions of millions of Europeans. We hope they will also stand up to halt the crackdown on human rights defenders occurring in the country.

… read more




Serbia privatizes state media

Archive  |  08.08.2015

Serbia privatizes state media | ECPMF

By July 1st, the 74 Serbian media still owned by the state or local governments will have to be privatised, but some say the deadline could slip to October.
With the deadline only five days away for the state to relinquish media ownership and terminate funding from the state budget (municipal, city, provincial, or national), neither the media directly involved nor the government know with certainty what will be the final outcome of the process. As of … read more




“A reckless act” Interview about the closing of the Greek public television ERT.

Archive  |  08.08.2015

“A reckless act” Interview about the closing of the Greek public television ERT. | ECPMF

The closing of the Greek public television was a reckless act against democracy. An interview with Greek journalist Dimitri Deliolanes.
And two. Despite a thousand difficulties, Greek premier Alexis Tsipras centres another target afterthe reinstatement of housekeepers in the ministries, and namely the reform of state television ERT, back to its name after the parenthesis of troika-sponsored “Nerit” (New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television), where journal … read more








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