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

The Russian VPN ban: another round in the battle for a free Internet

In the Russian Federation, a new Law that prohibits anonymizers and VPN usage is to enter into force on 1 November 2017. What are VPNs and what does this law mean for freedom of expression? The author attempts to disentangle the technicalities at stake

read more Access to information Censorship Content blocking and filtering Digital rights Media Law Online news Online media Russia

Restrictions on parliamentary reporting violates free expression: MLDI files intervention at European Court

MLDI and four other NGOs have filed a third-party intervention in the European Court of Human Rights case of Iván Szabolcs Mándli and Others v. Hungary. The Court will examine the circumstances under which journalists may be forbidden from entering and reporting from public fora, such as parliamentary premises

read more Legal protection Access to information Transparency European Court of Human Rights Media Law

Turkey: the legality of post-coup actions and the use of Bylock App as evidence in trials

An opinion on the legality of the Turkish state's reactions following the 2016 attempted coup and of the controversial use of certain facts as evidences of support or membership to a terrorist organization

read more Digital safety Encryption Digital rights Human rights Media Law Political pressure Turkey Safety of journalists

Satakunnan Markkinapörssi Oy and Satamedia Oy v. Finland

The Strasbourg Court found no violation of the right to freedom of expression where Finnish courts and authorities had prohibited two companies from processing and publishing personal - but already public - tax data, first through a newspaper and later through a text-messaging service

read more European Court of Human Rights Legal protection Open data Privacy Transparency

Is the Ukrainian ban on Russian social media justified?

The recent ban of Russian social media in Ukraine has provoked intense discussions. The author explores original Ukrainian-language documents to find out more about the official perspective on the ban

read more Access to information Content blocking and filtering Digital rights Social media Online news Online media Media freedom Media Law Media ownership European Court of Human Rights

Russia versus the European Court of Human Rights: bad news for online freedom of expression?

Russia’s unwillingness to give up part of its constitutional sovereignty may prevent the effective intervention of the European Court of Human Rights. An analysis focusing on the country's online regulation

read more Russia Content blocking and filtering Digital rights Encryption European Court of Human Rights European Policy Access to information Media Law Online news Online media Surveillance

Medžlis Islamske Zajednice Brčko and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina: condemnation for four NGOs confirmed by Strasbourg Court

The European Court of Human Rights confirmed there is no Article 10 violation in the sentence for civil defamation against four NGOs, following a letter they addressed to local government offices but that was published by some daily newspapers

read more Defamation and Libel European Court of Human Rights Public broadcasting Verification Bosnia Herzegovina

Lithuania Criticised After ECHR Ruling on Russia's 'Homosexual Propaganda' Law

Following the condemnation of Russia's "propaganda law" by the Court of Strasbourg, a representative of the European Parliament urged the European Commission to review similar regulations in Lithuania

read more Propaganda Freedom of expression Lithuania

Independent Newspapers v. Ireland: €1.25 million defamation award against newspaper violated Article 10

High damages for defamation have a “chilling effect" on freedom of expression, thus require the “most careful scrutiny” and “very strong justification”. A ECtHR landmark judgment against against abuse of defamation law

read more Defamation and Libel European Court of Human Rights Freedom of expression Ireland

Spain’s Transparency Lottery

The difficulties for access to information and transparency in Spain. A first instance court ruled in favour of the human rights organization Access Info Europe, with regard to the disclosure of documents about Spain's progress on open government

read more Access to information Transparency

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

Recommendation on the protection, safety and empowerment of journalists

The Recommendation, published on 16 September 2021, is part of the Commission's work to support media freedom and pluralism in the EU

read more Safety of journalists SLAPP Local media Media pluralism

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

Approved by the European Parliament on 11 November 2021 with 444 votes in favour, 48 against and 75 abstained, this initiative by the LIBE and JURI Committee aims at tackling the abuse of legal tools that threatens freedom of expression

read more SLAPP

JOINT DECLARATION ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ELECTIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, published this joint declartion in April 2020

read more Freedom of expression

Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on promoting a favourable environment for quality journalism in the di...

Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 17 March 2022 at the 1429th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies

read more Media freedom

Proposal for a Directive on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP)

27/04/2022

The proposed Directive covers SLAPPs in civil matters with cross-border implications

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Recommendation on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP)

27/04/2022

Beside proposing a Directive on transnational cases, the European Commission issued a Recommendation to Member States to tackle SLAPPs at national level

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Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union: An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace

The joint communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committe of the Regions stresses that for cyberspace to remain open and free, the same norms, principles and values that the EU upholds offline, should also apply online. Fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law need to be protected in cyberspace

read more Cybersecurity

NIS Directive

The NIS Directive is the first piece of EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity. It provides legal measures to boost the overall level of cybersecurity in the EU

read more Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Act

The Cybersecurity Act strengthens the EU Agency for cybersecurity (ENISA) and establishes a cybersecurity certification framework for products and services

read more Cybersecurity

European Parliament resolution of 3 May 2018 on media pluralism and media freedom in the European Union (2017/2209(INI))

After the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in October 2017 and Jan Kuciak in Slovakia in February 2018, three MEPs promoted the adoption of this Resolution and continued advocating for anti-SLAPP measures and intiatives to protect journalists

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The New Cybersecurity Strategy

The EU Cybersecurity Strategy aims to build resilience to cyber threats and ensure citizens and businesses benefit from trustworthy digital technologies; it was revised on 16 December 2020

read more Cybersecurity