Archive for July 2002

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[eccr] France condemned for attacking freedom to inform

Fri Jul 05 19:17:52 GMT 2002

France condemned for attacking freedom to inform
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned France for violating
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, pertaining to
freedom of expression and the right to inform. The newspaper "Le Monde"
had appealed to the Strasbourg-based court after the Paris Appeals Court
had found the daily guilty of "insulting" the king of Morocco, in March
1997. This was in accordance with Article 36 of the 1881 press law,
pertaining to insults towards foreign heads of state. The appeals court
had backed up the sentence.

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the ECHR's decision. The organisation
wrote to French Justice Minister Dominique Perben noting that "the
provision on insulting foreign heads of state is a good example of why
French legislation on the press is among the most reactionary in Europe
in the area of information freedom".

"It is unacceptable today that heads of state should benefit from
excessive privileges and be protected beyond the regular defamation
provisions", stated the organisation's Secretary-General Robert Menard.

Reporters Without Borders recalls that French courts have delivered many
more verdicts against the press in recent months. These verdicts run
counter to ECHR jurisprudence, which holds that this is an important
right because "safeguarding press freedom is in the interest of a
democratic society".

Source: - International
Freedom of Expression Exchange

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