Freedom of expression and defamation (2016)

The Council of Europe has published a new study of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the special relation between freedom of expression and defamation.

Written by Tarlach McGonagle and published by the Council of Europe

The study on freedom of expression and defamation explores a range of substantive and procedural issues that the European Court of Human Rights has considered at the moment of balancing the protection of freedom of expression and defamation.

The first part of this publication is devoted to clarifying the concept of defamation, positioning it in relation to freedom of expression and public debate. It explains how overly protective defamation laws can have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and public debate, and discusses the proportionality of defamation laws and their application.

In more detail, the study is comprised of three main parts. The first is focused on the definition of defamation, its delimitations, distinctive features, also the public debate associated with this topic. The second chapter of the publication is dedicated to such substantive issues as distinction between facts and value judgments, liability and defence opportunities. Procedural and remedial matters are analysed in the third part of the study, which focuses on procedural safeguards, civil measures and remedies as well as criminal sanctions.

The publication (a PDF file or a book in English or French) can be purchased online .

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