Skip to Content

Wall Street Journal: Free Speech Advocates Blast EU Reader Comments Ruling

The Wall Street Journal: 

“The case centers on an article Delfi  ran in January 2006, regarding a ferry company’s decision to change its routes. The change delayed the opening of cheaper ice roads to outlying islands. Users added some 185 comments, about 20 of which contained personal threats and offensive language toward the ferry company’s majority shareholder.

Around 20 of the comments — including death threats against the ferry chief –were taken down, but the site was still sued for defamation. It lost that case but appealed.

Last week, the judges of the grand chamber of European Court of Human Rights disagreed with Delfi, ruling that the site was, in fact, responsible for the offensive comments of its readers. The verdict could have dramatic repercussions for media organizations in Europe, say experts.

Emma Llanso, director of the free expression project at the center for democracy and technology, wrote in a blog that the court’s ruling undermines essential protections for free expression online.”

Link to full article.