chapter  13
16 Pages

Defining the free press: recent European case-law on political free speech, anti-terrorism legislation and the free press: Angus Nurse


This chapter considers the extent to which European law clarifies contemporary press freedom and has global influence on the exercise of free speech by the press. European Union (EU) law gives everyone ‘the right to freedom of expression’. This includes freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas ‘without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers’. This provision, contained in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union1 (EU Charter), and in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR),2 which is respected as an expression of general principles of the EU (Article 6(3) TEU), also adds that the freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected (Article 11(2) EU Charter). Freedom of expression (free speech) and a free press is the cornerstone of any democracy. Effective free speech provides not only a ‘marketplace’ for ideas and public discussion, but for people to express themselves as part of their right of selfrealization, as accepted by EU law.3