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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.
We hope that you continue to find the email to be a useful introduction to new and seminal jurisprudence from around the world. If not, you can easily unsubscribe! (See below).
 
Database Additions
December 14-20, 2015 

Namibia
Trustco Group International Ltd v. Shikongo
Decision Date: July 7, 2010
 
A weekly newspaper, Informanté, published an article alleging that the Mayor of the city of Windhoek (Shikongo) participated in a corrupt land deal that favored private and personal interests. Mayor Shikongo sued the owner, the editor, and the printer of the newspaper for defamation. The Supreme Court added to Namibia’s rule of law the defense of "reasonable publication in the public interest," but determined that the publication was defamatory and the circumstances regarding the publication did not meet the reasonable and responsible standards of the defense.
 
Turkey
The Case of Tansel Cölasan (Turkey)
Decision Date: July 7, 2015
 
After openly criticizing the outcome of a referendum held in September 2010 in Turkey, Tansel Colasan, the president of the Ataturkist Thought Association and a former Council of State Chief Prosecutor, had a reprimand imposed on her by a civil court on the grounds that she had committed an "attack on the personal rights" of the individuals who voted in favor of the reforms. Colasan then filed a complaint before the Turkish Constitutional Court, alleging that the decision of reprimand amounted to a breach of her right to freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 26 of the Turkish Constitution. The Constitutional Court ruled that the reprimand was in fact a violation of her freedom of expression, reasoning that such interference could not be considered as necessary in democratic society.
 
Vietnam
The Case of Songwriter Vu Minh Tri (Vietnam)
Decision Date: October 30, 2012
 
On October 30, 2012, Vietnam's prominent musician Vu Minh Tri was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of "propaganda against the state" for writing politically sensitive songs. Tri, also known as Viet Khang, has written lyrics condemning income inequality in Vietnam and the government's crackdowns on activists who protest China's territorial claims over the South China Sea.

Tri was released on December 13, 2015 upon completing his jail term.

 


 

Hawley Johnson
Project Manager, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
hj101@columbia.edu
Columbia Global Freedom of Expression

       

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