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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January 19-24, 2016
Lula v. Caiado II
Decision Date: December 15, 2015
The Brazilian Supreme Court (S.T.F.) dismissed a criminal complaint filed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former President of Brazil, charging Senator Ronaldo Caiado with libel and slander for publishing on Facebook accusations that Silva committed crimes such as embezzlement and money laundering. The S.T.F. dismissed the complaint based on parliamentarian immunity conferred by Article 59 of the Brazilian Constitution.
South African Airways v. BDFM Publishers and Others
Decision Date: December 17, 2015
The High Court of Johannesburg ruled that the public interest in being informed outweighed the right of South African Airways (SAA) to confidentiality regarding the contents of a leaked memo published by three major news outlets about the airlines financial difficulties. Based on the foregoing analysis, the High Court set aside a temporary restraining order by a lower court against the three news outlets.
Alves v. Board of Regents
Decision Date: October 29, 2015
The Appeals Court for the Eleventh Circuit held that the speech of employees who had issued complaints against their employer was not protected under the First Amendment. The Court held that the employees spoke as employees and not citizens in their complaint, therefore their speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Also, the content of their complaint was private rather than public and thus it did not implicate the First Amendment.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig
Decision Date: August 13, 2015
The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the lower courts in finding that the owners of a bakery, by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, violated Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA). The Court rejected the bakery owner's argument that this violated his freedom of speech rights.
Project Manager, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
Columbia Global Freedom of Expression