OSCE Representative warns about impact on free flow of information online following decision in France to expand delisting requests

VIENNA, 7 July 2015 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today warned about the possible implications for freedom of information  and freedom of the media on the Internet, following a decision by the French data protection authority (CNIL) to order the search engine Google to apply delisting requests on all its domain names.

CNIL’s move follows last year’s ruling by the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg on 13 May 2014, which said that search engines, based on individual claims, have an obligation to delete links to websites which publish “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” data (commonly referred to as the “right to be forgotten”).

On 8 June this year, CNIL ordered Google to delist several results within 15 days, specifically requesting that the delisting should be effective on national and global websites.

“The decision to expand the EU court ruling to the global level represents a threat to the effective protection of freedom of information and freedom of the media beyond EU territory,” Mijatović said.

“States should have all the instruments to properly safeguard these freedoms, online and offline, without undue interference and in conformity with the principle of country of origin,” Mijatović said.

The Representative’s communiqué on the ruling of the European Union Court of Justice, addressing the “right to be forgotten” and its possible implications for investigative journalism and media freedom, is available at www.osce.org/fom/118632.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/fom/170551

Gunnar Vrang, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
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