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Media and Censorship



Where confidential information is disclosed, the possibility that the anonymous source might have a public interest defence should ward off a summary Norwich Pharmacal disclosure order.

Adakini Ntuli v Howard Donald [2010] EWCA Civ 1276

No "superinjunction" to maintain pop star's anonymity

Amnesty International

The failure to disclose details of Pinochet's medical report which justified the refusal to extradite him offended against the requirement of transparency in administrative decisionmaking


The defendant’s right to freedom of expression did not supersede the claimant’s right to privacy under Article 8. Order for disclosure of source issued.


The relationship of confidentiality still underlies considerations of whether a claimant's privacy rights have been breached by the risk of publication of intimate material


Copyright laws do not constitute a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression. The needs of a democratic society include the recognition and protection of private property


When ordering disclosure of a source of anonymously supplied information, the court should apply the test of necessity under Article 10(2)

Author of a Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd

[2009] EWHC 1358 (QB)

The information on an internet blog does not have the necessary quality of confidence, nor does it qualify as information in respect of which the blogger has a reasonable expectation of privacy under Article 8, essentially because blogging is a public activity.

Barclay v United Kingdom

A private island owned by the applicants did not consitute their "home" for the purposes of Article 8 when they were not present on it at the time of the alleged interference


An activity need not have the quality of "seclusion" about it to attract the protection of Article 8, and non-natural entities may also enjoy the right to privacy

BBC (Petitioner)

Restrictions on the televising of the Lockerbie trial were a justifiable measure limiting freedom of the press under Article 10(2)


The practice of selling the electoral register to commercial concerns without affording individual electors a right of objection interfered with their rights under Article 8 and Protocol 1 Article 3


The obligation to disclose sources of publications concerning the activities of the security services did not constitute an unjustifiable infringement on the freedom of the press


The imposition of criminal liablity on newspaper editors and publishers for printing names of rape complainants did not breach their Article 10 rights


The publication of photographs of a celebrity claimant outside a rehabilitation clinic was a disproportionate interference with her right to privacy, even though the fact that she was receiving treatment was in the public domain.


An injunction contra mundum was a necessary and legitimate limitation on the media's right of free speech under Article 10 where it was the only effective means available to the court to protect the life and limb and psychological health of an applicant


The conduct of an intimate or sexual relationship was a matter in respect of which a legitimate expectation of privacy should be protected by Article 8.

Craxi v Italy

The state has positive obligations under Article 8 to prevent unauthorised access by the public to confidential information about people held on state files.

Cream Holdings

The test in s.12(3) HRA 1998, which applied on an application to restrain prior publication, was whether the applicant had established a real prospect of success at trial, rather than that success was more likely than not.


Injunctive relief, sought to restrain the use of tape recorded conversations between individuals about sexual matters, was refused where the information was already in the public domain and there was no evidence that the information was to be used for any purpose other than that for which it was obtained.

Douglas and Zeta Jones

Confidential or private information such as unauthorised pictures taken at a private wedding, which was capable of commercial exploitation but which was only protected by the law of confidence, did not fall to be treated as property that could be owned and transferred. A publisher which had a licence to publish authorised photographs of the wedding reception of film stars had no right of confidence in unauthorised photographs published by another publisher and no cause of action in respect of them.

Du Roy and Malaurie v France

A ban on the publication of a fraud claim against a company was a disproportionate restriction on the right of the press to publish matters of important public interest under Article 10


Where two people had been involved in an extra-marital relationship and one wished to exercise his or her Article 10 rights, that had to impact on the other's right to maintain confidentiality

Garaudy v France

Holocaust denial is a form of speech which has no protection under Article 10 of the Convention

Gaunt, R (ota) v. Ofcom [2011] EWCA Civ 692

Ofcom reprimand did not breach broadcaster's freedom of speech

Her Majesty’s Attorney-General Claimant – and – (1) MGN Limited Defendants (2) News Group Newspapers Limited

Newspapers in contempt in relation to their reporting of murder case


Parties seeking restrictions on publication relating to fostering arrangements bore the onus of proving that such restriction was necessary and proportionate under Article 10


The claimants were entitled to continued injunctions restricting publication of covertly obtained information about treatment of laboratory animals

Kelsey and Leppard

The right to restrain information, however damaging, had to be founded on a clear and actionable breach of confidence which did not exist if there was already publicity

Kizilyaprak v Turkey

Complaints under Articles 10 and 9 about the suppression of a book praising the activities of Kurdish terrorist groups admitted for further consideration

MacKay & BBC Scotland v. the United Kingdom (Application no. 10734/05)

the failure of the Scottish court system allow the BBC to challenge a court reporting ban was a violation of rights to freedom of expression and information as well as to an effective remedy.

Mahi and Others v Denmark

Complaints about the publication of allegedly blasphemous cartoons which the claimants said breached their rights under Articles 9, 14, 10 and 17 were declared inadmissible, as the complainants were not within the state's "jurisdiction" within the meaning of Art.1 of the Convention.

Marasli v Turkey

Complaints under Articles 9 and 10 concerning the suppression of a newspaper criticising Turkey's handling of the Kurdish problem admitted for further consideration

Mary Bell

Lifetime injunctions, protecting the identity of X and her daughter Y, were granted after balancing the press's right of freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention against the Article 8 rights of X and Y

MGN Limited v The United Kingdom – (Application no. 39401/04)

Strasbourg Court rules that 100% success fee claim against losing party in libel proceedings a breach of freedom of speech

Moseley v News Group Newspapers Ltd

[2008] EWHC 1777 (QB)

There was no public interest to justify the exposure by a national newspaper of sexual activities between the claimant and other consenting adult participants. The exposure by a national newspaper of these details therefore breached confidence and the right to privacy under Article 8

Mosley v United Kingdom, 4th Section, European Court of Human Rights

Max Mosley loses privacy case against News of the World in Strasbourg

Murphy v Ireland

Blanket ban on religious broadcasting did not exceed Irish government's margin of appreciation

Peck v UK

The remedies available in English law for breach of privacy, including the remedial powers of the press watchdogs, fell short of the requirements in Article 8 and 13


Article 10 of the Convention was not engaged by a decision to hold a closed inquiry into the government's response to the foot and mouth outbreak

Privatfernsehgesellschaft v Austria

The state's refusal to grant a licence to a private television company breached its right to freedom of expression under Article 10


In banning a party election broadcast video made by an anti-abortion group the broadcaster had failed to give sufficient weight to the importance of freedom of expression


Third parties were in contempt of court if they wilfully interfered with the administration of justice by thwarting the achievement of this purpose in those proceedings even if the injunction was drawn in seemingly over-wide.

R (on the Application of Animal Defenders International) v Secretary of State or Culture, Media and Sport [2008] UKHL 15

The ban on all forms of political advertising, from party political to social advocacy, on radio or television between election times was not incompatible with the right to free expression under Article 10.

Re S (A Child)

Under Article 10, newspapers should not be prevented from publishing information that would lead to the disclosure of the identity of a child of a defendant charged with murder

Roemen v Luxembourg

A search carried out in the applicant’s office to establish responsibility for breach of confidence breached the applicant’s rights under Articles 8 and 10


The courts will not accommodate litigation seeking to found a declaration as to the Convention compatibility of manifestly outdated legislation which imposed no real threat to the applicants; this was a matter for parliament.


The Official Secrets Act, which affords no public interest defence to disclosure of classified information, does not breach Article 10


The claimant's role as children's TV presenter meant that the public had a legitimate interest in his private life that defeated his claims to confidentiality and privacy

Venables and Thompson

Article 2 entitled the convicted murderers of James Bulger to continuing injunctions restricting publication of details of their identity and whereabouts

Verein Gegen Tierfabriken Schweiz (VgT) v. Switzerland (no. 2) (Application no. 32772/02)

The continued prohibition on broadcasting a television commercial about battery pig farming, notwithstanding that the commercial was a matter of public interest and that the court previously held that such prohibition breached the right to freedom of expression, constituted a fresh violation of Article 10 of the Convention

VGT Verein v Switzerland

A commercial broadcast by a pressure group was a form of political expression that should be protected against censorship under Article 10

Von Hannover v Germany

Photographs published without the consent of the subject interfered with her private life under Article 8 and there was no countervailing public interest in the pictures that would justify a claim by the press under Article 10

X (A Child)

In children cases where the paramountcy principle does not apply, freedom of the press will always prevail over Article 8


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