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Interference with RTBF’s freedom of expression violated Article 10 ECHR

We reported in IRIS, the legal newsletter of the European Audiovisual Observatory (Strasbourg) and in De Juristenkrant about an interesting judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) finding a violation of the right to freedom of journalistic reporting of the public broadcasting organization of the French Community in Belgium (Radio-télévision belge de la communauté française, RTBF). The case concerns a civil judgment against the RTBF by the Belgian courts for having breached the right to respect for private life (as protected by Article 8 ECHR) and the right to be presumed innocent (as protected by Article 6 ECHR), following a report on the RTBF about suspicious acts by a couple, involved in sexual exploitation. In view of the importance of the media in a democratic society and of the domestic authorities’ limited margin of appreciation in respect of a television programme about a subject of considerable public interest, the ECtHR found that the Belgian courts had not balanced in a pertinent way the right to respect for private life and the presumption of innocence with the RTBF’s right to freedom of expression and journalistic reporting on a matter of public interest.

Judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, Second Section, in the case of RTBF v. Belgium (no. 2), Application no. 417/15, 13 December 2022

See also:
And: Dirk Voorhoof, “Meer ruimte voor kritische gerechtsjournalistiek: EHRM veroordeelt België in RTBF-zaak”, De Juristenkrant 2023/462, 1 en 3.

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