EIT: Ranskan presidentin loukkaamisesta langetettu sakkotuomio loukkasi sananvapautta14.3.2013 | Oikeusuutiset
Euroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuin (EIT) on tuomiossa Ranskaan vastaan katsonut, että mielenosoittajan pitämän kyltin, jossa luki ”Casse toi pov’con” (Häivy täältä, surkea mulkku”) sanoma oli sinänsä Ranskan presidenttiä loukkaava, mutta kun lause asetettiin tapauksen kokonaiskontekstii, oli mielenosoittajan tuomitseminen loukannut hänen sananvapauttaan.
Kyseinen mielenosoitus tapahtui pian sen jälkeen, kun Ranskan presidentti oli itse mutissut vastaavan lauseen hänen vieraillessaan maatalousmessuilla. Nauhoitus presidentin toteamuksesta levisi laajalti ja siitä uutisoitiin useissa medioissa. Näissä olosuhteissa EIT katsoi, että valittajan saama rikostuomio oli omiaan yleisesti kaventamaan sananvapautta ja se oli seuraamuksena kohtuuton.
The Court considered that the applicant’s conviction had amounted to “interference by public authority” with his right to freedom of expression. The interference had been prescribed by the Freedom of the Press Act of 29 July 1881 and had pursued the legitimate aim of “protection of the reputation … of others”.
While accepting that the phrase in issue, taken literally, was offensive to the French President, the Court considered that it should be examined within the overall context of the case.
The Court focused on the balance to be struck between the restriction of Mr Eon’s freedom of expression and the free discussion of matters of public interest. The Court considered that the applicant’s repetition of the phrase uttered by the President had not targeted the latter’s private life or honour; nor had it simply amounted to a gratuitous personal attack against him. Instead, the Court took the view that Mr Eon’s criticisms had been political in nature, noting that the Court of Appeal had established a link between his political stance and the very nature of the phrase he had used. There was therefore little scope under Article 10 for restrictions on freedom of expression in the political sphere. The Court reiterated that politicians inevitably and knowingly laid themselves open to close public scrutiny of their words and deeds and consequently had to display a greater degree of tolerance towards criticism directed at them.
Furthermore, by echoing an abrupt phrase that had been used by the President himself and had attracted extensive media coverage and widespread public comment, much of it humorous in tone, Mr Eon had chosen to adopt a satirical approach. Since satire was a form of expression and comment that naturally aimed to provoke and agitate, any interference with the right to such expression had to be examined with particular care. Criminal penalties for conduct such as that displayed by Mr Eon were likely to have a chilling effect on satirical contributions to discussion of matters of public interest, and such discussion was fundamental to a democratic society.
The criminal penalty imposed on Mr Eon had thus been disproportionate to the aim pursued and unnecessary in a democratic society. There had therefore been a violation of Article 10.
Koko lehdistötiedote, missä linkki myös ranskankieliseen tuomioon, löytyy täältä:
Eon v. France