Balancing expectations of privacy with press freedom: The UK Supreme Court’s decision in Bloomberg v ZXC and the balancing of privacy and free speech by the European Court of Human Rights

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

The UK government has recently announced plans to reform the Human Rights Act 1998, with one of its objects to enhance free speech and freedom of the press. A particular issue is the increasing growth of privacy rights witnessed in both the domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights, raising concern that the over protection of privacy rights might have a chilling effect on press freedom and the of reporting of matters of public interest or debate.
This article will examine two recent judicial decisions – one from the UK Supreme Court and the other from the European Court of Human Rights – which have favoured individual privacy over and above press freedom and free speech, and which might indicate a wider trend in favour of individual privacy when it is in conflict with freedom of expression. In both cases, the courts were critical of the tactics employed by the press, stressing that the press cannot, without judicial oversight, rely on its own editorial judgment to excuse what would otherwise be a breach of privacy. This issue of responsible journalism was a critical factor in the European Court’s decision to favour individual privacy over press freedom, and was also relevant in the first case in establishing the rationale for the starting point of privacy expectation in investigation cases. The article will highlight these issues to identify whether these rulings are damaging to notions and values of free speech, press freedom and editorial judgement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
EditorsMatthias Vanhullebusch, Steve Foster, Ben Stanford
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherBrill Nijhoff
Pages451-478
Number of pages28
Volume7
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-53862-7
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023

Keywords

  • Press Freedom

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