Euro court fines Turkey over President’s newspaper injunction
LUXEMBOURG – Hürriyet Daily NewsThe European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Turkey breached human rights law by denying the free expression of newspaper journalists in the case of Cumhuriyet Foundation and Others v. Turkey.
The court held that Turkey was to pay the surviving applicants 2,500 euros (EUR) each in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 5,100 to the applicants jointly for costs and expenses.
The ECHR said the European Convention on Human Rights’ Article 10 (freedom of expression) was violated when, in May 2007, the daily national newspaper Cumhuriyet was prevented from further publication of a political advertisement allegedly quoting an interview given by the current Turkish President, Abdullah Gül to The Guardian newspaper in 1995.
The paper’s publisher, its owner and two of its journalists complained that the injunction was a violation of their right to freedom of expression.
The court held that the interference with the applicants’ freedom of expression caused by the injunction had not been proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued and necessary in a democratic society, due to procedural deficiencies in the interim injunction proceedings.
“In particular, it was not made clear in the injunction what exactly Cumhuriyet had been banned from publishing. Given that the injunction had stayed in force for over 10 months, Cumhuriyet had been seriously hampered from contributing to public debate at a key point in Turkish political history, namely the run-up to the presidential elections,” the verdict read.