EIT: Poliitikkojen arvostelusta tuomitseminen loukkasi sananvapautta

25.9.2019 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

In its committee judgment in Antunes Emídio v. Portugal and Soares Gomes da Cruz v. Portugal (applications nos. 75637/13 and 8114/14) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously held that in each case there had been:

  • a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights

The case concerned two men, a journalist and a doctor, who were convicted of defaming politicians, fined and ordered to pay compensation. The Court found that the statements for which the applicants had been convicted had been made in the context of debates on matters of public interest and in neither case had the restriction on their
freedom of expression been proportionate.

In March 2011 Mr Antunes Emídio, a journalist at the time, wrote an opinion piece in the regional weekly O Mirante, headlined, “Only chickens were left”, which criticised the Portuguese political class. In particular, it said of R.B., the State Secretary for Agriculture, Forests and Regional Development, that he was the most “idiotic politician I know”.
After a criminal complaint by R.B., Mr Antunes Emídio was convicted in July 2012 of aggravated defamation. The court found his statements had amounted to value judgments which had no connection to R.B.’s conduct as a State Secretary and had gone beyond what could be considered as objective criticism. He was ordered to pay 2,500 euros (EUR) compensation and fined the same amount. His appeals were rejected.