Media Defence Files Intervention at European Court to Protect Anonymity Online

Media Defence Files Intervention at European Court to Protect Anonymity Online

Media Defence has filed a third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Koumiotis v Greece to protect anonymity online. The case concerns criminal proceedings against the applicant, the owner and manager of an online blog. The applicant, following a series of posts criticising a businessman, was convicted of slanderous defamation. The applicant complains under Article 10 that his criminal conviction amounted to a violation of his right to freedom of expression. He also complains that the authorities obtained his IP address and his identity arbitrarily, in breach of Article 8 of the Convention.

While the Court has already recognised the importance of anonymity and the corresponding need for a careful assessment of measures aimed at removing anonymity in light of their implications for freedom of expression, it is yet to be explicit about minimum procedural safeguards that states must put in place to protect online anonymity, especially in the context of criminal investigations.

This intervention focuses on these safeguards and begins by outlining why online anonymity merits robust protection under Article 10 of the Convention. It then proceeds to set out the key aspects of what such protection should entail, focusing on prior judicial review of law-enforcement measures aimed at obtaining data capable of identifying anonymous Internet users, and ensuring the balancing of the interests in removing anonymity against the targeted person’s right to freedom of expression and the measure’s broader negative impact on that right.

The intervention can be found here.

Media Defence Strategic Litigation and Interventions.

Media Defence undertakes strategic litigation to improve the legal environment in which the media work and to secure justice when their rights are violated.

We bring cases on behalf of journalists, citizen journalists and independent media and as third party interveners.

Read about some of our other recent interventions here, and here.



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