Back to main site


    Module 2: Data Protection and Press Freedom

    Establishing the limits of data protection vis-à-vis freedom of expression remains to be a work in progress for lawmakers and courts. This module has provided some insights into the complexity inherent in the task.

    Europe has developed two parallel but interdependent and mutually enriching data protection regimes: within the EU and in the framework of the Council of Europe. The GDPR is at the centre of the EU regime, and its influence has spread far beyond the EU borders. The right to be forgotten, endorsed by the CJEU and later entrenched in Article 17 of the GDPR, is among the elements of the EU data protection law that have a particularly profound effect on the freedom of the media.

    The EU has been an undisputed world leader in developing regulatory responses to the new threats digital technologies pose to the right to privacy. However, their impact on freedom of the media is a serious concern. The ECtHR has tested some of those responses, and its approach to balancing the right to be forgotten against freedom of expression has become more sophisticated and nuanced. Yet, one may question if the chilling effect of measures such as retroactive anonymisation is fully appreciated by the Court.