EIT:n suuren jaoston paneeli päätti ottaa virolaisen tapauksen tutkittavakseen

18.2.2014 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

Tapauksessa on kyse siitä, että virolainen internetissä toimiva uutisia julkaiseva yritys oli sallinut uutiseensa liittyen loukkaavien kommenttien julkaisemisen. Virossa tuomittiin portaalin ylläpitäjäyritys 5.000 Viron kruunun vahingonkorvaukseen. EIT:n jaosto katsoi yksimielisesti, että yrityksen sananvapautta ei ollut loukattu.

EIT:n lehdistötiedotteesta:

The applicant, Delfi AS, is a public limited company registered in Estonia. It owns one of the largest internet news sites in the country.

In January 2006, Delfi published an article on its webpage about a ferry company. It discussed the company’s decision to change the route its ferries took to certain islands. This had caused ice to break where ice roads could have been made in the near future. As a result, the opening of these roads – a cheaper and faster connection to the islands compared to the ferry services – was postponed for several weeks. Below the article, readers were able to access the comments of other users of the site. Many readers had written highly offensive or threatening posts about the ferry operator and its owner.

The owner sued Delfi in April 2006, and successfully obtained a judgment against it in June 2008. The Estonian court found that the comments were defamatory, and that Delfi was responsible for them. The owner of the ferry company was awarded 5,000 kroons in damages (around 320 euros). An appeal by Delfi was dismissed by Estonia’s Supreme Court in June 2009. In particular, the domestic courts rejected the portal’s argument that, under EU Directive 2000/31/EC on Electronic Commerce, its role as an Internet society service provider or storage host was merely technical, passive and neutral, finding that the portal exercised control over the publication of comments.

Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Delfi complained that the Estonian civil courts had found it liable for comments written by its readers.

In its Chamber judgment of 10 October 2013 the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the Convention. It found that the finding of liability by the Estonian courts was a justified and proportionate restriction on the portal’s right to freedom of expression, in particular, because: the comments were highly offensive; the portal failed to prevent them from becoming public, profited from their existence, but allowed their authors to remain anonymous; and, the fine imposed by the Estonian courts was not excessive.

Suuren jaoston paneelin lehdistötiedote löytyy täältä: Press release

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