Media Defence has filed an intervention in a case before the First Civil Division of the Płock District Court in Poland. The case has been brought by journalist Norbert Orłowski against Krzysztof Kosiński, Mayor of Ciechanów. The journalist was blocked from the Mayor’s personal Facebook Page so that he can no longer post or comment on the Mayor’s posts or on other comments on the page.
The journalist’s case is that because the Mayor has been using his personal Facebook Page in his official capacity the blocking amounts to an infringement of his right to freedom of expression and access to information.
The case raises important questions on the standards to be applied to ensure protection of freedom of expression and access to information where ostensibly personal social media accounts of public officials or persons who work in local municipalities are used by those persons in their official capacity.
This issue is relatively new and the intervention draws on international law, with a particular emphasis on UN and Council of Europe standards, and case law from the US.
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