CLOSE

Liability for Comments Posted by Online Readers

Liability for Comments Posted by Online Readers

MLDI has led a coalition of 69 news organisations in urging the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to formally review a judgment by one of the court’s lower chambers in a case concerning the extent to which news websites can be held liable for comments left by users.

In the case of Delfi v. Estonia, the First Section of the Court held that one of Estonia’s main news websites, Delfi, was liable for defamatory comments from its users despite the fact that Delfi had taken down the comments as soon as they had been notified of them.

This undermines established standards under other legal systems, including other EU law, and may result in websites closing down comments sections of their websites or proactively removing any comments they think might be offensive. Either option would limit free speech online and prevent users from voicing their concerns on topical news items (in the Estonian case, the comments concerned a ferry company that had broken up winter roads over the ice).

Lawyers for Delfi have formally requested that the judgment be referred to the Court’s Grand Chamber. MLDI has written to the Court in support of the request, as part of a coalition including Google, Forbes, News Corp., Thomson Reuters, the New York Times, Bloomberg News, Guardian News and Media, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, Conde Nast, the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, the European Publishers Council, Greenpeace, the Center for Democracy and Technology, ARTICLE 19 and national media outlets and journalists associations from across Europe.

 

Attached files:
PDF icon Delfi Support Letter.pdf

Recent News

Media Defence et l’Impact Lab pour l’Etat de droit de Stanford Law School saisissent la Cour de justice de la CEDEAO contre les coupures d’internet ordonnées par l’Etat sénégalais

Le recours au nom d’AfricTivistes et de deux journalistes sénégalais vise à obtenir des mesures provisoires pour empêcher de nouvelles coupures d’Internet   READ IN ENGLISH   Dakar, le 13 février 2024 – Media Defence et le Rule of Law Impact Lab de la Stanford Law School ont déposé un recours devant la Cour de justice […]

Read

Media Defence and SLS’s Rule of Law Impact Lab File Case Before ECOWAS Court Challenging Senegal Internet Shutdowns

Filing on behalf of AfricTivistes and Two Senegalese Journalists Seeks Interim Measures to Prevent Internet Shutdowns.   READ IN FRENCH   Dakar, February 13, 2024 – Media Defence and the Rule of Law Impact Lab at Stanford Law School have filed a lawsuit before the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West […]

Read

Clare Rewcastle Brown: Media Defence Condemns Prison Sentence

Media Defence condemns today’s prison sentence imposed, in absentia, on Clare Rewcastle Brown, the founder and editor of the Sarawak Report – a media outlet reporting on environmental and corruption issues in Malaysia. Rewcastle Brown, a British journalist renowned for her investigative reporting, has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for alleged defamation of Terengganu […]

Read