What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest

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TOP 50
50 Cases
1996
Europe

Journalists’ sources must be protected

Related European Convention Articles

A journalist was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to reveal a whistle-blowing source for a story. It was unfair to punish journalists for doing their job to protect commercial interests. After the judgment, the law was changed to better protect responsible investigative journalism.

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    Speech & Protest
    2003
    Europe

    Campaigners are not necessarily entitled to meet on private property

    Related European Convention Articles

    Campaigners were barred from distributing leaflets in a private shopping centre. This did not breach their right to freedom of expression. The campaigners did not have an automatic right to enter private property, nor were their ability to express speech destroyed.

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      Speech & Protest
      2002
      UK

      Freedom of expression can be restricted for the sake of national security

      Related European Convention Articles

      A former intelligence officer was prosecuted for leaking secret documents to the press. He argued that the disclosure was in the public interest. However, the court decided that freedom of expression can be restricted on the grounds of national security.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2012
      Europe

      Police can ‘kettle’ demonstrators to keep the peace

      Related European Convention Articles

      Four people were kettled (forcefully contained) in a crowd by riot police during a demonstration in Central London. The police's actions were lawful, as their purpose was to prevent an imminent breach of the peace.

      TOP 50
      Speech & Protest
      1996
      Europe

      Journalists can refuse to reveal their confidential sources

      Related European Convention Articles

      A company wanted to force a journalist to reveal a confidential source. The journalist refused and was fined. The journalist won the case, because forcing disclosure would restrict freedom of expression

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        TOP 50
        Speech & Protest
        1979
        Europe

        Newspapers have freedom to report legal cases if in the public interest

        Related European Convention Articles

        During a legal case about the Thalidomide disaster, the High Court stopped a newspaper from publishing articles in support of the victims. This violated their right to freedom of expression. The significant public interest in the matter outweighed the need to uphold an injunction.

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          Speech & Protest
          2015
          Europe

          Journalists may secretly film and record other people, if it’s in best interest of the public

          Related European Convention Articles

          Four journalists were convicted for secretly recording and broadcasting an interview with an insurance broker. The conviction violated their right to freedom of expression. There was an overriding public interest in showing the interview, which exposed misleading advice given by insurance companies.

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            Speech & Protest
            2000
            UK

            People have a right to access information from public bodies

            Related European Convention Articles

            The Freedom of Information Act obliges public authorities to publish certain information about their activities. It also permits people to request information from public authorities. However, a public authority may legally refuse to release information for a variety of reasons.

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            Speech & Protest
            2011
            UK

            Occupy protestors didn’t have the right to occupy private property

            Related European Convention Articles

            A group of Occupy activists occupied a building owned by a bank. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression and assembly did not permit them to take over private property. The protestors were subsequently evicted from the premises.

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            Speech & Protest
            2012
            Europe

            Offensive anti-gay speech in schools isn’t acceptable

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            Four students were convicted for distributing homophobic leaflets in a secondary school. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression was not violated.

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            Speech & Protest
            2014
            UK

            Controversial speakers may be denied entry into the UK

            Related European Convention Articles

            A dissident Iranian politician appealed the Home Secretary's decision to refuse her entry into the UK. The Home Secretary won the case. Granting entry to the politician would have posed a threat to diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran.

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              Speech & Protest
              1996
              Europe

              Gratuitously offensive imagery is not protected by free speech

              Related European Convention Articles

              A film which involved erotic scenes between Jesus Christ and a nun was banned for breaking the law on blasphemy. This was a lawful restriction. The right to freedom of expression did not apply to gratuitously offensive material concerning religious figures.

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                Speech & Protest
                1998
                Europe

                Restrictions on election campaigning must be proportionate

                Related European Convention Articles

                An anti-abortion campaigner distributed 25,000 campaign leaflets shortly before the 1992 election. She was prosecuted for breaching the spending cap on campaign publications. The court decided that the spending cap was so disproportionate that it violated her right to freedom of expression.

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                  Speech & Protest
                  2009
                  UK

                  The state can’t interfere with peaceful protest with no good reason

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  An activist group, which had peacefully protested near a nuclear weapons site for more than 20 years, was banned from camping near the site. This violated their right to freedom of expression.

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                  TOP 50
                  Speech & Protest
                  2006
                  UK

                  Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

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                  The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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                  TOP 50
                  50 Cases
                  2006
                  UK

                  Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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                    TOP 50
                    50 Cases
                    1999
                    UK

                    Journalists must be able to interview prisoners

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A blanket ban on journalists publishing interviews with prisoners was a violation of fundamental rights. Journalists must be able to expose miscarriages of justice.

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                    Speech & Protest
                    1994
                    Europe

                    Journalists cannot be punished for disseminating statements made by others

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A journalist was fined for including racist statements made by youths he interviewed for a documentary. The court decided that the journalist's conviction violated his right to freedom of expression.

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                      Speech & Protest
                      2014
                      UK

                      During court proceedings, a person’s identity can be made anonymous

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      The BBC challenged a court's decision to withhold the identity of a convicted sex offender during deportation proceedings. The court said that the BBC's right to freedom of expression was outweighed by its duty to protect the convict from violent attack.

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                        TOP 50
                        50 Cases
                        1976
                        Europe

                        Offensive ideas need to be protected too

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        Mr Handyside was prosecuted for publishing "The Little Red Book", which encouraged children to rebel against social norms. The European Court supported the prosecution as protecting public morals but famously emphasised that free speech also applied to offensive ideas.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2005
                          Europe

                          Excessive McDonalds libel damages breached free speech rights

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          Members of a campaign group were sued for libel by McDonald's. The group had to pay excessive damages to McDonald's. They successfully challenged the decision - their right to freedom of expression was violated.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2005
                          Europe

                          Inciting hatred isn’t part of freedom of speech

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          A British National Party member displayed a poster outside his house containing an inflammatory statement about Islam. He was convicted of a criminal offence. Mr Noorwood argued this breached his free expression rights - his case failed.

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                            Speech & Protest
                            2009
                            Europe

                            Journalists can refuse to reveal their confidential sources

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            The FT was ordered to disclose documents identifying confidential journalistic sources to a brewing company. The sources had leaked information about a takeover bid. The FT refused to release the documents, and won their case – their right to freedom of expression was breached.

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                              What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest
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