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
February 29 - March 6, 2016 

Bartha v. Alkotmánybíróság
Decision Date: April 17, 2015
Constitutional Court of Hungary affirmed the decision of the Curia allowing televisions stations to refuse the broadcasting of a political campaign video starring a monkey that impersonated the former prime ministers of Hungary.  The Court found that the spot was dehumanizing and constituted a violation of human dignity, and therefore, it refused his claim to annul the decision of the Curia.
Hussain v. The Norwegian Prosecution Authority
Decision Date: June 22, 2015
Norway’s Borgarting Court of Appeals upheld the acquittal of a Norwegian national charged with expressing support for terrorism and making a series of threatening, discriminatory, and hateful statements. However, he was sentenced to 120 days of imprisonment for threatening people participating in the administration of justice and threatening to commit a criminal act.
United Kingdom
L’Oréal SA v. eBay International AG
Decision Date: July 12, 2011
After a widespread trademark infringement occurring on eBay, L'Oréal brought infringement actions against the online marketplace, its European subsidiaries, and individual defendants who had sold several counterfeit items resembling brand names associated with L'Oréal. The European Court of Justice held that a trademark proprietor is entitled under EU Directive 89/104 and Regulation 40/94 to prevent the operator of an online marketplace from advertising its goods without consent which were targeted at consumers in the EU. The Court also ruled that eBay may not be exempt from liability provided under Article 14(1) of Directive 2000/31 when it plays an active role in the sale of goods by optimizing the presentation of the offers or promoting them.
Fighting Through Cartoons
By Robert Eilbacher, Legal Researcher, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Charged with nine counts of sedition, Zunar, Malaysia’s famous political cartoonist, once vowed, “How can I be neutral, even my pen has a stand.” Zunar is the pen name of Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, and he is being prosecuted for nine tweets that criticized the government’s prosecution of a prominent opposition leader. Each tweet is being used as the basis for a separate charge, with the first charge carrying a maximum sentence of three years, and the remaining eight carrying a maximum of five years. Hence, the charges bear a total of 43 years of imprisonment for nine tweets. However, Section 102 of Malaysia’s Subordinate Courts Act limits the maximum sentence to twenty years, and arguably the nine tweets are not distinct offenses. Irrespective, it’s clear that the ruling party is using cases like Zunar’s to stifle and intimidate government critics.

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


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