The objective of this analysis – primarily focused on cases involving media outlets that were sued for defamation by public officials – is to offer a brief general overview of current trends in civil defamation cases in Slovakia, with a particular focus on the amount of non-pecuniary damage that courts award to plaintiffs.
As VIA IURIS pointed out in 2011, many public officials in Slovakia including politicians and judges sue media outlets for publishing “defamatory content”. According to this research, since that time the situation has slowly moved in a positive direction: in spite of the fact that rulings of Slovak courts concerning defamation cases are still far from fundamental standards set in European jurisprudence, there has been a tangible progress in courts’ reasoning. Slovak courts now appear to produce better-reasoned decisions – with less exaggerated financial compensation – and to be more aware of the need to carefully assess the conflict between freedom of expression and personality rights.
In addition to the influence of European jurisprudence – first of all the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) –, this report highlights the very important role that the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic and the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic have played. For the purpose of this research, the author has examined judicial decisions contained on the official website of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic , in the legal database ASPI and on the website otvorenesudy.sk (website created by Transparency International Slovakia).
Supported by the European Commission and produced in cooperation with the Slovak civil association VIA IURIS , this report was commissioned by the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) as part of its work examining the effects of defamation law on the media freedom in Europe. Tags:
Defamation and Libel
European Court of Human Rights
Freedom of expression
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