Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Clinton speech on Internet freedom, censorship and Wikileaks

Delivered at GWU: "The marketplace of ideas worked.... The United States does restrict certain kinds of speech in accordance with the rule of law and our international obligations. We have rules about libel and slander, defamation, and speech that incites imminent violence. But we enforce these rules transparently, and citizens have the right to appeal how they are applied. And we don’t restrict speech even if the majority of people find it offensive. History, after all, is full of examples of ideas that were banned for reasons that we now see as wrong. People were punished for denying the divine right of kings, or suggesting that people should be treated equally regardless of race, gender, or religion. These restrictions might have reflected the dominant view at the time, and variations on these restrictions are still in force in places around the world. But when it comes to online speech, the United States has chosen not to depart from our time-tested principles."

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Max Moseley on privacy and prior notice/injunctions

Max Moseley's case is Application no. 48009/08 before the ECtHR (decision due later in 2011) that may change UK privacy law, arguing that Article 8 requires prior notification to the persons involved if their privacy is breached, and the possibility for a judge to make a pre-publication interim decision on public interest in that invasion of privacy. The argument runs here - very interesting.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Reading for week 3 - defamation

The reading is as follows:
1. Bradley (2008) to end of Chapter 3; also Chapter 6 - consider differences with ECtHR guide you have read
2. 'Libel Tourism' paper in bundle;
3. Defamation cases in ECtHR guide pp.49-60 (also include cases on journalistic sources, artistic expression, Jersild/Thorgeiersen and judicial matters).
4. Read one casenote post from the Matrix Chambers blog: http://inforrm.wordpress.com/

Hate speech: fining French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen not disproportionate

The ECtHR ruled in May 2010 that fining Msr Le Pen was proportionate to the offence in his speech, as an alternative was to imprison him for making and repeating his remarks. See Prof. Vorhoof's blog post on the subject.

Recent cases on freedom of expression

Thanks for sending me information - I was slightly surprised not to receive anything on Nilesat and Al-Jazeera, a past example of broadcast regulation in such cases is that of Lebanese Hezbollah channel Al-Manar (note Hezbollah is now the government of Lebanon, though not in 2005-8 when most of the activity took place) which you can read here in advance of the 15 March class.
Note that recent Article 10 caselaw is available from the Court's website here.
The latest such case is Mirror Group Newspapers v. UK (18 Jan 2011), a case that almost entirely concerned the increasing and much-criticized use of Conditional Fee Arrangements ('success fees') for privacy/libel/breach of confidentiality trials. The Court upheld the newspapers' complaint that the process itself is an abuse of Article 10 - as a result of which Naomi Campbell's costs of over £1,000,000 may well be reduced. The Court held that:
"recoverable success fees for CFAs suffered four flaws highlighted by Lord Justice Jackson’s review as follows:1.   lack of focus and lack of any qualifying requirements;2.   no incentive on the part of the party instructing lawyers pursuant to a CFA to control legal costs; 3.   opposing party driven to settle early regardless of the prospects; and 4.  solictors and barristers allowed to “cherry pick” winning cases to conduct on CFAs. The “depth and nature of the flaws in the system” had been highlighted by the public consultation process and importantly had been largely accepted by the Ministry of Justice.  Nevertheless the UK government had failed to reform CFAs and success fees in order to deal with these serious criticisms.  The ECHR concluded that the UK government had violated Article 10 of the Convention.  The obligation on MGN to pay success fees to Ms Campbell was disproportionate even having regard to the legitimate aim of recoverable success fees and the broad latitude allowed to domestic legislators in such matters." 
Menteş v. Turkey  (33347/04) 25.01.2011The applicant, Güler Menteş, is a Turkish national who was born in 1972 and lives in Diyarbakır (Turkey). A member of HADEP (People’s Democracy Party), she was sentenced in the criminal courts to 10 months’ imprisonment for having organised and taken part in an illegal demonstration protesting against the death penalty passed on the leader of the PKK (the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan, an illegal organisation), for having taken part in demonstrations protesting against Category F prisons and for having spoken to the press. She claimed that the prevention of her attempt to read a statement to the press had amounted to a breach of Article 10 (freedom of expression).
Violation of Article 10
Just satisfaction: no claim made by the applicant within time-limit

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Newspapers' response to defaming of interviewees

This is a very sobering story about libel from a member of the public - consider it when you read about defamation and libel reform. Is there a case for legal aid?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Reading for Thursday's class

I have received no emails in regard to the set reading, so assume everyone has accessed the texts in the library without problems. In addition to reading the background on the ECHR and its application (especially for those of you unfamiliar with the Strasbourg court), you should read as far as p.47 in the Council of Europe guide for judges that was handed out last week - that is, to the end of the Austrian soldier cases.

This week: Thursday 12-2pm 5S.6.17

This week's class moves to an hour later and a much nicer room - 5S.6.17.
The LW654 seminar will finish promptly at 11.50 so that you can rest and recover a bit before class.