Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is a cornerstone of the Convention. It enshrines the right to freedom of expression, but as can be seen from paragraph 2 it is not an absolute right. The Convention provides:
Freedom of expression
- Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
The extent of Article 10 rights was considered by the European Court of Human Rights in the recent case of Zarubin and Others v. Lithuania (applications nos. 69111/17, 69112/17, 69113/17 and 69114/17).
The case concerned Lithuania’s expulsion and ban on re-entry of four Russian journalists working for Russian state-owned broadcaster Rossiya-24 after their actions at a conference in Vilnius. In its decision, the European Court ruled by a majority that the applications were inadmissible. The decision is final. The Court was prepared to accept that the measures taken against the applicants had constituted an interference with their right to freedom of expression under Article 10. However, it further held that the authorities had demonstrated that the measures had been necessary in the interests of national security and had been proportionate. In particular, the applicants’ behaviour at the conference – characterised by the authorities as aggressive and provocative – had not been in accordance with the tenets of responsible journalism.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Solicitor working in our Complex Case team