Tag Archives: Inforrm

Inforrm: European Court of Human Rights privacy case may provide clarity for media

For those following the privacy case of Von Hannover and Springer v Germany, due to be heard by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in October, the International Forum for Responsible Media blog offers a neat summary and full copy of the submission made by the Media Lawyers Association.

The case, which Inforrm says is likely to result in an important clarification of the relationship between Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and the media, is based on two complaints over the publication of information or images relating to an individual. The first – Von Hannover – refers to a complaint by Princess Caroline of Monaco against photographs taken of herself and her husband on holiday, one of which made it into the press before she took out an injunction, while the second – Springer – is a complaint by publishing group Axel Springer over a ban on reporting the arrest and criminal conviction of an actor.

In a useful summary of the MLA Submission, Inforrm provides the following bullet points:

  • Article 8 does not create or require the creation of an “image right”.
  • Publication of a person’s photograph (or image) does not, of itself, necessarily engage their Article 8 rights’ whether this is so depends upon all the circumstances; a certain level of seriouness is required before there will be any interference with the right.
  • The right to reputation is not a Convention right.  Publication of a defamatory statement about a person does not, of itself, interfere with their Article 8 rights.
  • It is vital, in any balance between the Convention rights under Articles 8 and 10, that media reporting upon all matters of public interest or public concern is strongly protected.
  • The reporting of court proceedings (in particular, criminal proceedings) requires wide and strong protection.

See Inforrm’s background to the case here…

Inforrm: European court rules in favour of right not to disclose material revealing sources

The International Forum for Responsible Media blog has posted details of an interesting judgement this week by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, which centres on the rights of journalists to protect confidential sources.

In the case of Sanoma Uitgevers BV v Netherlands, the court held unanimously that the requirement of the applicant to provide material to the public prosecutor was not prescribed by law and violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case refers to journalists from a car magazine who had attended an illegal car race and taken photographs in 2002. The authorities had demanded the journalists hand over their images to police.

Following ongoing legal disputes, which led to the material being surrendered and then later returned to the magazine, the case came before the European Court of Human Rights. The magazine challenged the legalities surrounding the disclosure of information to the police that would have revealed their journalists’ sources. In its original judgement, dated 2009, the court found that “the information contained on the CD-ROM had been relevant and capable of identifying the perpetrators of other crimes investigated by the police and the authorities had only used that information for those purposes”.

But following the referral of the case to the Grand Chamber this week, which included a media intervention by bodies including the Guardian News and Media and the Committee to Protect Journalists, the court held that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated and awarded the claimants 35,000 Euros for costs and expenses.

The Inforrm blog has more background information on the case and a link to the judgement in full.