Media Defence has filed a third party intervention at the ECtHR in the case of Pal v UK. Ms Pal was arrested and prosecuted under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, after she published a news article online and posted several Tweets about an individual who subsequently complained to the police. She was arrested, handcuffed, and brought from Birmingham to a police station in London where she was detained before being released on bail. Criminal proceedings were initiated and subsequently discontinued. Her claim against the police for breach of her article 10 rights was dismissed.
The intervention focuses on the nature of journalistic activity, the use of criminal laws in that context, and the protections from criminal sanction that journalists should be afforded for doing their job. The intervention notes the tendency in some states in the Council of Europe region towards criminalising basic acts of journalism, and the effect this is having on the ability of the press to report freely. In particular it notes that laws designed to deal with a particular type of wrongdoing should not be misapplied in a way that criminalises legitimate journalistic activity.
Media Defence’s Legal Director Pádraig Hughes said, “Journalists should be able to report without heavy handed state interference. When law enforcement agencies are called on to assess journalistic activity, they should factor into that assessment the important role journalists play in society”.
You can find the intervention here.
Media Defence was granted leave to intervene in this case by the ECtHR on condition it did not refer to the facts or merits of the case.
For further information on this case please contact Pádraig Hughes at email@example.com
This International Women’s Day, Media Defence wants to celebrate the talented and courageous women who promote freedom of expression around the world, despite the risks they face. According to the Reuters Institute for Journalism, women substantially outnumber men in journalism training, and enter the profession in greater numbers. Despite this, women are under-represented in nearly […]
On 25 May 2000, Jineth Bedoya Lima travelled to Colombia’s infamous Modelo prison, intending to follow up a lead. A investigative reporter, Bedoya had received information about arms sales between Colombia’s paramilitary groups and state officials. Before she could enter the prison, however, Bedoya was abducted at gunpoint. She was drugged, beaten and sexually assaulted […]
At Media Defence, we undertake a variety of internal and external evaluations each year in order to understand the effectiveness and relevance of our programmes. We also do this to explore the impact of legal defence for journalists, in an increasingly contracting space for media freedom globally. We are committed to transparency and wish to […]