Dear Friends,

Below, please find the latest case additions to the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression legal database.

As always, we very much welcome your comments and feedback on the case analyses. We could not get access to the official court documents, including the decisions, for some cases. If you have access to such documents, please forward them to me.
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Database Additions
April 18-15, 2016 
Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth v. Ministry of Social Development
Decision Date: March 26, 2014
Promoting Equity and Growth (Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento, CIPPEC) requested information from the Ministry of Social Development (Ministerio de Desarrollo Social) regarding the public assistance that had been provided to legal entities and individuals in 2006 and 2007; this request was denied. The Supreme Court ordered the State to provide the requested information on the ground that information regarding the recipients of public assistance and the content of these programs is not sensitive information, but rather information of public interest that facilitates scrutiny of the way in which authorities use public funds.
Cambodia v. Kong Raiya
Decision Date: March 15, 2016
Kong Raiya, a Cambodian university student, was arrested due to a Facebook post asking people to join him in a “color revolution.”   He was sentenced to 18 months in jail on March 15, 2016. No legal reasoning was given for the decision.
Bordachar v. Canal 13
Decision Date: September 23, 2010
The Constitutional Court of Chile reviewed an action seeking non-applicability due to the unconstitutionality (acción de inaplicabilidad por inconstitucional) of the article of the Civil Code which required that civil actions for compensation arising from alleged defamatory statements only be upheld if the plaintiff proves that there have been consequential damages or loss of income. The Court found for the plaintiffs and ordered the civil trial judge not to apply the article in the case in question.
Pinto Coelho v. Portugal (No. 2)
Decision Date: March 22, 2016
The European Court of Human Rights found Portugal in violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on the right to freedom of expression in this case concerning the broadcast of trial proceeding by a Portuguese journalist in which she claimed that the defendant was wrongfully convicted and the trial judges made mistakes in their rulings. The Court held that while the journalist's conviction was prescribed by law to protect the impartiality of the judiciary and the right to privacy, the national courts of Portugal failed to strike a fair balance between the right inform on matters of public interest and one's right to privacy. Furthermore, the Court found the conviction not necessary as the recordings were disclosed after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.
Görmüş v. Turkey
Decision Date: January 19, 2016
European Court of Human Rights unanimously found Turkey in violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention in this case concerning the publishing of an article based on leaked documents that were classified as confidential by the Chief of Staff of the armed forces. The Court ruled in favor of the magazine, finding that the public's right to be informed of the army's controversial treatment of journalists outweighed the importance of maintaining public confidence in the functioning of the government. The Court also particularly noted that the journalists did not act irresponsibly in handling the confidential information because the Turkish legislation did not provide administrative procedures for State officials to draw their superiors' attention to unlawful matters that are otherwise kept secret from the general public.
Asociación Civil Espacio Público v. Contraloría General de la República
Decision Date: July 15, 2010
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court dismissed an action to enforce constitutional rights (amparo) filed by the Espacio Público Civic Association against the refusal from the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic to provide information about the salaries of public officials working at the institution. The Court based its decision on its analysis that the information was part of the officials’ realm of “economic privacy” and that the appellants had not shown their legitimate and sufficient interest in attaining information belonging to this realm of privacy.

Hawley Johnson
Project Manager, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Columbia Global Freedom of Expression


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