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will this European court ruling help the press in front of Leveson?

10 February 2012

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has made two rulings on the interaction of Article 8 (Right to a private life) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the very same balance being considered by the Leveson Inquiry.

In these cases, in which the ECHR refused to ban the publication of photographs or articles relating to the arrest of a famous German TV personality for allegedly using cocaine, and allowed the publication of an article & photos about the holiday activities of the Monaco royal family, factors considered of importance included public interest in the story, how well-known the personality was, the fact that the arrested celebrity had ‘actively sought out the limelight’, and the consequences for the celebrity of publication.

If the ECHR decisions are taken on board by the inquiry it may quell the fears of some that reaction to the phone hacking scandal could limit freedom of expression of the press.

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