Jan 182011
 January 18, 2011  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Non-U.S.

Thanks to Inforrm’s Blog, I just found out about RPC Privacy Blog, a new privacy blog by the UK law firm of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. What better way to introduce readers to them than by providing an excerpt from their coverage of today’s European Court of Human Rights decision in MGN v. United Kingdom, a case in which the Daily Mirror attempted to get a decision against it overturned. The case stemmed from the Daily Mirror’s coverage of Naomi Campbell’s problems, but the issue before the court here had to do with whether the decision against them – and the fines – infringed on freedom of the press:

Just under seven years after the House of Lords found by 3 to 2 against the Daily Mirror in the landmark privacy case by Naomi Campbell, the European Court of Human Rights has rejected MGN’s attempt to persuade it that UK law was incompatible with Article 10.

The facts of Campbell are too familiar to bear repetition here.  The basis of the ECtHR’s finding that the decision of the UK courts did not interfere with MGN’s right to freedom of expression was as follows.  First, the court considered that the House of Lords had correctly applied the core Article 10 principles and had recognised the importance of the public interest in responsible journalism.  Second, the court noted that the difference between the five judges in the House of Lords boiled down to a difference over whether publication of the information about Campbell, including the photographs, was or was not a justifiable interference with editorial freedom and judgment.  Noting that the UK courts had considered the matter over nine days and issued a number of detailed judgments, and having regard to the margin of appreciation accorded to decisions of national courts, the ECtHR said that strong reasons would be required before it reached a conclusion that the UK courts’ final decision was wrong.  Third, the court found that the reasoning of the majority in the House of Lords was, in any event, persuasive.  There was a degree of intimacy about the additional information and a degree of intrusiveness about how it had been obtained.  There was no countervailing necessity to publish the information, the credibility of the story already being assured by the rest of the content.

Read more on RPC Law Blog.

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