Below, please find the latest case additions to the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression legal database.
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March 7-13, 2016
Malaysia v. Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque (Zunar)
Decision Date: Pending
Zulkiflee Anwar Alhague, better known as Zunar, is a Malaysian political cartoonist who has been charged with 9 counts under Malaysia’s Sedition Act for his tweets posted on February 10, 2015, against the court ruling of Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. The decision of his case was due on March 9, 2016 but has been postponed. He faces up to 43 years in prison if convicted on all nine charges.
CEO of Antena 3 v. Extraconfidencial, S.L.
Decision Date: July 7, 2015
The Supreme Court of Spain affirmed the lower court's ruling in favor of the newspaper Extraconfidencial, rejecting allegations by a former CEO of "Antena 3" that its article criticizing his job performance violated his right to honor pursuant to Section 18 of the Spanish Constitution. The Court held that one's right to protection of his or her reputation can be limited by the broader rights to freedom of expression and information. But this limitation first requires the consideration of whether the information or opinion at issue was a matter of public concern and whether it met the additional requirements of truthfulness and newsworthy.
R v. Secretary of State for Justice
Decision Date: January 27, 2016
The U.K. Supreme Court held that whether an anonymity order related to legal proceedings of a metal patient is necessary must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Yet “[t]he public’s right to know has to be balanced against the potential harm, not only to this patient, but to all the others whose treatment could be affected by the risk of exposure.” With respect to the patient in the present case, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision, finding it necessary to preserve his identity as well. The Court was of the opinion that the disclosure of his identity could jeopardize his treatment and re-integration into the community.
Jacobson and Ragan v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al.
Decision Date: September 14, 2015
The Court found a significant government interest in establishing border checkpoints to combat illegal immigration into the United States. Therefore, the relevant inquiry was whether restrictions on this checkpoint were narrowly tailored to meet the government’s significant interest. The concluded that a restriction on a 150-foot enforcement zone around a border checkpoint was a valid time, place, and manner restriction, and thus, it defeated the Plaintiff's First Amendment motion for a preliminary injunction.
Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack
Decision Date: June 13,2014
On June 11, 2015, The Court of Appeal to British Columbia affirmed the Chamber’s judge determination that Google does indeed fall in British Columbia’s jurisdiction as it carries key parts of its business in the Province. The Court rejected Google’s claim that the order made by the trial judge could have extraterritorial effect and undermine the right to freedom of expression and determined that the order would not offend any other nation pursuant to the principal of comity. The Court also dismissed Google’s contention that the order should have only been made to websites under Canadian domain and not worldwide. The court also stated that there had been no evidence that the defendant’s websites were used to exercise freedom of expression. For these reasons, Justice Groberman dismissed Google’s appeal. Google has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.
By Marco A. Sabino, Legal Researcher
Thank God, the insanity only lasted three days. The City Hall of São Paulo, the biggest city in South America, surrealistically ordered taxi drivers to avoid conversing with their clients about “polemical themes” such as “sportive passions,” “political convictions,” “faith and religious cults,” “personal behavior options,” “private problems,” or “problems of taxi drivers’ category.” Conversation regarding these topics could result in a fine of BRL 35.52. The ordinance was enacted on Monday, January 18th and was overturned on Thursday, January 21st, after public outrage.
Project Manager, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Columbia Global Freedom of Expression