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

Ólafsson v. Iceland: Should journalists always seek “appropriate legal advice” from now on?

ECtHR judgment Ólafsson v. Iceland overall reinforces freedom of expression in Europe, yet it also features somewhat puzzling conclusions, inviting journalists to seek “appropriate legal advice” in a wide range of situations

read more Iceland Freedom of expression Defamation and Libel Online news Online media

Orloskaya iskra v. Russia: Reporting in media during election campaign must be free from content restrictions

Is it legitimate to restrict freedom of expression in time of elections? Can political journalism be hindered by electoral laws? ECtHR examined the question in this case, concluding in favor of freedom of the media

read more European Court of Human Rights Access to information

Pihl v. Sweden: Pushing Online Intermediaries Towards Private Censorship and Deanonymisation?

The recent decision by the ECtHR in Pihl v. Sweden marks a new step in the definition of the emerging jurisprudence on liability of online intermediaries

read more Online news Online media Freedom of expression Censorship Hate speech Defamation and Libel Sweden Hungary Estonia

Joint declaration on freedom of expression and “fake news”, disinformation and propaganda

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media call all relevant actors to take steps in countering fake news and propaganda

read more Fake news and disinformation Freedom of expression Media pluralism Propaganda Public Service Media Media literacy Content blocking and filtering

The Right to Information Is a Human Right, Strasbourg Rules

Hungarian authorities erred when they refused to provide a human rights NGO access to information – an essential part of freedom of expression – about the employment of pro deo lawyers

read more Hungary Access to information

Defining Defamation: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation

Finding an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and the need to protect one’s reputation: this is the aim of these principles on defamation, written by Article 19 over two decades of research and debate

read more Media freedom Media Law Freedom of expression Defamation and Libel

ECtHR ruling in Delfi and MTE cases: More Questions Than Answers

The role of online news portals as intermediaries and their liability for user-generated content has been at the centre of two recent ECtHR cases (DELFI and MTE). Divergent outcomes leave room for many questions

read more European Court of Human Rights Freedom of expression Hate speech Defamation and Libel Estonia Hungary

Italy: new bill against cyberbullying endangers freedom of expression on the web

OssigenoInformazione warns against restrictions of freedom of expression on the web that may derive from the newly adopted bill against cyberbullying

read more Digital rights Freedom of expression Italy

RO: Deputies reject draft Law to cut the audiovisual licence fee

Minimal conditions for PBS editorial independence are preserved in Romania, as the Parliament rejects the draft Law intended to abolish the audiovisual licence fee covering over 60% of the public broadcast revenues

read more Romania Public broadcasting

Spain's 'gag laws'

The 'gag laws', most popularly known as 'Ley Mordaza' or 'leys mordaza', have been found to systematically violate citizens' rights in Spain since their implementation last year. The organisation PDLI is following the situation closely and provides a guide on what the laws mean and what they have caused to journalists so far

read more Spain Human rights Media freedom Freedom of expression Defamation and Libel

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