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Forcible removal of journalists during parliamentary debate breached their freedom of expression

Strasbourg 9 February 2017
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Forcible removal of journalists during parliamentary debate breached their freedom of expression
Selmani and Others v. “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

The case concerned the forcible removal of journalists from the national Parliament gallery where they were reporting on a parliamentary debate about approval of the State budget for 2013. During the debate a group of opposition MPs had started creating a disturbance in the parliamentary chamber, and had been ejected by security officers.

The applicants, accredited journalists, had refused to leave the gallery, a designated area for journalists, and ended up being forcibly removed by security. They brought proceedings before the Constitutional Court to complain about the incident, and contest the fact that there was no oral hearing before this court for them to challenge the facts as disputed between the parties.

The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
  • a violation of Article 6 (right to a fair hearing) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of the Constitutional Court’s failure to hold an oral hearing, and
  • a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on account of the applicants’ removal from the Parliament gallery by security.

More information:

Press Release

ECHR Judgement (9 February 2017)


Freedom of expression Freedom of expression

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Freedom of expression by Nicolas Vadot Freedom of expression by Nicolas Vadot

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights

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