Legal Resources

News on notable legislative changes and other legal issues. Special attention is paid to significant trials marking the emergence of some new jurisprudence

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation threaten human rights and democracy. The EU must act

"The problem of SLAPPs against journalists, activists, and human rights defenders must be addressed on the EU level. Legislative action is needed. The EU anti-SLAPP Directive and Council of Europe Recommendations are fundamental to raise awareness about SLAPPs dangers and to lead to a change " - argue lawyers and researchers of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

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Insulting accusation of domestic violence

By Dirk Voorhoof and Inger Høedt-Rasmussen. Published on the Strasbourg Observers, an academic blog that discusses recent developments at the level of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), delivered an interesting judgment in the case of Tölle v. Croatia about insulting allegations of domestic violence.

read more SLAPP Freedom of expression European Court of Human Rights Croatia

Rush to pass ‘fake news’ laws during Covid-19 intensifying global media freedom challenges

17 states passed some form of regulation targeting disinformation during pandemic, handing autocrats new censorship tools. An overview by IPI

read more Media Law

Factsheet – Use of force in the policing of demonstrations

This factsheet gives an overview of case law of the European Court of Human Rights related to the use of force by the police during demonstrations

read more Media capture Freedom of expression European Court of Human Rights

Hungary’s two pandemics: COVID-19 and attacks on media freedom

A legal opinion commissioned by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) finds that the Hungarian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic fails to live up to domestic or European legal standards and entrenches the country’s attacks on independent media outlets, journalists and media workers

read more Hungary Fake news and disinformation Freedom of expression Media freedom Media pluralism

The new EU Directive on whistleblower protection

An analysis of EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law

read more Whistleblowing Media freedom Transparency

SLAPPs: the Italian Case

Strategic lawsuits threaten freedom of expression in Italy too: in this analysis, an overview of the situation, the threats, the chilling effect, and the bills currently under discussion in the Italian Parliament

read more SLAPP Freedom of expression Media freedom Italy

Albania, the controversial media law

Concerns persist over the approval of the new package of amendments aimed at modifying two important laws on the Albanian media, the so-called "anti-defamation package"

read more Albania Media Law Defamation and Libel

Need of anonymous FOI applications for investigative journalism

FOIAs are an important instrument for investigative journalists, who are however endangered by the lack of anonymity of the process to access public documents and can be subject to intimidations submitting their phone number and postal and home address

read more Access to information EU Member States Italy Slovakia Belgium Romania Professional journalism

​German Ban on Leftist Internet Platform Violates Media Freedom

The Society for Civil Rights has submitted a Brief as a "friend of the court" on the ban of left-wing portal linksunten.indymedia. The ban is crucial for media freedom in Germany

read more Germany Media freedom Online news Online media

Audiovisual Media Services Directive

The EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) governs EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media, both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services

read more EU Member States European Policy Media Law

European Convention on Human Rights

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is devoted to Freedom of expressions and defines the admissible conditions under which this freedom may be restricted

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European Charter on the Freedom of the Press

The charter formulates principles for the freedom of the press from government interference - in particular for their right to safety from surveillance, electronic eavesdropping and searches of editorial departments and computers, and to unimpeded access for journalists and citizens to all domestic and foreign sources of information

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European Charter on Fundamental Rights

Article 11 of the European Charter on Fundamental Rights Human Rights is devoted to Freedom of expression and information

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General comment No. 34 on Article 19 ICCPR

The UN Human Rights Committee's fundamental remarks on Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on freedoms of opinion and expression

read more Freedom of expression Media pluralism Media Law Human rights Media freedom Access to information

IFJ Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists

Adopted on 12th June 2019 in Tunis, the IFJ Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists completes the IFJ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists of 1954 (the Bordeaux Declaration) and is based on major texts of international law

read more Freedom of expression Journalism education Media freedom

Press Freedom Police Codex

The Codex formulates in eight clauses how the police and journalists can cooperate

read more Safety of journalists Media freedom

EP Resolution: Strengthening Media Freedom: the Protection of Journalists in Europe, Hate Speech, Disinformation and the Role of Platforms

European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2020 on strengthening media freedom: the protection of journalists in Europe, hate speech, disinformation and the role of platforms (2020/2009(INI)). On 25 November 2020 the European Parliament adopted a very important resolution tackling many aspects of media freedom

read more SLAPP Safety of journalists European Policy

European Democracy Action Plan

This action plan addresses the EU institutions, national governments and parliaments − who have primary responsibility for ensuring the sound functioning of democracy −, as well as other national authorities, political parties, media and civil society, and online platforms. In full respect of national competences, it sets out a reinforced EU policy framework and specific measures to:

-Promote free and fair elections and strong democratic participation;

-support free and independent media; and

-counter disinformation

read more SLAPP Safety of journalists European Policy

DRAFT REPORT on the strengthening democracy and media freedom and pluralism in the EU: the undue use of actions under civil and criminal law to sil...

For the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Rapporteurs MEP Tiemo Wölken and MEP Roberta Metsola drafted an initiative report with a motion for a EP Resolution about SLAPPs

read more SLAPP Defamation and Libel Copyright European Policy

Resolution 2382 (2021) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Media freedom, public trust and the people’s right to know

With 111 votes in favor, 4 against and 16 abstensions, the PACE adopted a resolution promoted one year and a half ago by the Italian Roberto Rampi. The motion stated that "today, human rights, democracy and the rule of law are challenged by post-truth narratives, which are unfortunately gaining strength and public support. At the same time, the concentration and lack of transparency of media ownership hamper true media pluralism, and recurrent attempts to manipulate public opinion undermine constructive public debate. In this alarming context, people are losing their entitlement to a free and conscious self-determination, and public trust in media and democratic institutions is declining"

read more SLAPP

Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (9 Oct. 2019)

In the present report, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 34/18 , the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression explains how those standards provide a framework for Governments considering regulatory options and companies determining how to respect human rights online

read more Freedom of expression Hate speech