Bergens Tidende And Others v Norway: ECHR 2 May 2000

A newspaper complained that its rights under Article 10 of the Convention had been infringed by a libel action which a cosmetic surgeon had successfully brought against it in respect of defamatory articles it had published saying he was incompetent.
Held: The complaint succeeded, but the rights of the press are to be balanced by responsibilities. As to the general principles, the Court referred to its well-established case law and the freedom of expression which constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, subject to Article 10(2) which leaves the national authorities with a certain margin of appreciation and continued: ‘The Court further recalls the essential function the press fulfils in a democratic society. Although the press must not overstep certain bounds, particularly as regards the reputation and rights of others and the need to prevent the disclosure of confidential information, its duty is nevertheless to impart – in a manner consistent with its obligations and responsibilities – information and ideas on all matters of public interest.’
In applying these principles, the Court came back to the same point: ‘Where, as in the present case, measures taken by the national authorities are capable of discouraging the press from disseminating information on matters of legitimate public concern, careful scrutiny of the proportionality of the measures on the part of the Court is called for.’

However, the Court further observes that Article 10 of the Convention does not guarantee a wholly unrestricted freedom of expression even with respect to press coverage of matters of serious public concern. Under the terms of paragraph (2) of the Article, the exercise of this freedom carries with it ‘duties and responsibilities’ which also apply to the press.’
In view of the importance of the right to freedom of expression, restrictions upon it have to be ‘established convincingly’.
26132/95, (2001) 31 EHRR 16, [2000] ECHR 190
Worldlii, Bailii
Cited by:
CitedAshworth Security Hospital v MGN Limited HL 27-Jun-2002
Order for Journalist to Disclose Sources
The newspaper published details of the medical records of Ian Brady, a prisoner and patient of the applicant. The applicant sought an order requiring the defendant newspaper to disclose the identity of the source of material which appeared to have . .
CitedNorfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 1-Nov-2006
The claimants wished to claim that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice in the way the Council had dealt with care proceedings. They sought that the proceedings should be reported without the children being identified.
Held: A judge . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Ahmad Admn 11-Jan-2012
The BBC wished to interview the prisoner who had been detained pending extradition to the US since 2004, and now challenged decision to refuse the interview.
Held: The claim succeeded. The decision was quashed and must be retaken. If ever any . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 October 2021; Ref: scu.165871