European Court of Human Rights

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Reports

The Road to Justice

5. Building Pressure, Enforcing Compliance

The United Nations has escalated its focus on journalist killings, declaring that unpunished attacks against journalists are a major threat not only to press freedom, but also to all major areas of the U.N.’s work. In recent years, it has adopted two resolutions addressing journalists’ safety and impunity and launched a plan of action. These have come on top of existing Security Council Resolution 1738, which condemns attacks against journalists in conflict. “There must be no impunity for those who target journalists for violence,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed in a statement in the run-up to World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2014.

Reports

The Road to Justice

Foreword

By Myroslava Gongadze

It is a sad truth of today’s world that the life of a journalist is often a dangerous one. We in the media hear daily reports of crimes against journalists, from intimidation to murder, and it is even harder when these are committed against our friends, family, and colleagues. A culture of impunity often obstructs our search for justice for these crimes and allows those responsible, whether they are state authorities or powerful elites, to block the people’s quest for the truth in the bloodiest of ways.

Blog   |   France

French muckraker Mediapart to appeal to European Court of Human Rights

In the course of a couple of hours on Wednesday, France was rocked by two judicial decisions with profound political repercussions for French politics and the press' right to publish. Just as a baffled public learned that former President Nicolas Sarkozy had been put under formal investigation for corruption and influence-peddling, France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, upheld a July 2013 lower court ruling ordering the muckraking news website Mediapart to take down 72 articles related to "l'affaire Bettencourt." It's a fight destined to continue, with a founder of Mediapart vowing to take the free-press case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Blog   |   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugual, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

EU underscores support of free expression, but slights access to information

A new document on freedom of expression and opinion, adopted May 12 by the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union, presses nearly all the right buttons. Drawing its inspiration from international human rights norms as well as from the EU's treaties and its charter of fundamental rights, the document reaffirms the role of freedom of opinion and expression as "an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development, and participation in public affairs." It also makes a strong case for free and independent journalism. The ministers committed the EU and member states to the defense of journalists' freedom and safety, and endorsed watchdog journalism as a decisive factor in "uncovering abuses of power, shining a light on corruption, and questioning received opinion."

Blog   |   Russia

Criminalization of speech a serious setback for Russia

Thousands gathered in December 2011 to protest the alleged vote rigging in parliamentary elections. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Shortly after the May 7 presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin, the Russian parliament passed four major bills in record time--all of them meant to counter the protests that first erupted in the country in December 2011.

Blog   |   CPJ, France, Italy, Romania, Russia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine

Defending the European Court of Human Rights

Judges hear a case in the European Court of Human Rights. More than 60,000 people sought the court's help in 2011. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

The European Court of Human Rights is a victim of its success. In 2011, more than 60,000 people sought its help after exhausting all judicial remedies before national courts. But now, some member states of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe are pushing for reforms of the prestigious institution and are pointing at the number of cases to make their argument. Instead of enhancing the court's capacity to deal with the backlog of cases, their moves would clip the court's prerogatives and undermine a citizen's capacity to defend his most fundamental rights.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

CPJ, global press groups join forces for Fatullayev

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan--a coalition of 20 press freedom organizations, including CPJ--issued a joint call to the Council of Europe today to continue pressing Baku to release imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, France

CPJ presses slow, cautious Council of Europe on Azerbaijan

Ilham Aliyev (AP)

Strasbourg prides itself on being the "European capital of human rights." The historic French city, located on the border with Germany, is home to the Council of Europe (CoE), a 47-member institution focused on the promotion of democracy and the rule of law. 

It is also the seat of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), whose rulings have consistently defended press freedom against abrasive judgments or abusive practices of CoE member states.

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2010: Introduction

International Institutions Fail To Defend Press Freedom

An empty chair for Liu at the Nobel ceremony, and a lack of support from international institutions. (Reuters) by Joel Simon

UNESCO is the primary entity within the United Nations dedicated to the defense of press freedom. Yet in 2010, journalism and human rights organizations were forced to launch an international campaign to stop UNESCO from presenting a prize honoring one of Africa's most notorious press freedom abusers.

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