Case Law, Strasbourg: Mouvement Raelien Suisse v Switzerland, Of Aliens and Flying Saucers

This guest post was written by Gabrielle Guillemin* and is a re-blog from Inforrm’s Blog (original post here).

 

Earlier this month, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down judgment in Mouvement Raelien Suisse v Switzerland (Application no.16354/06). The case concerned the Swiss authorities’ refusal to allow a billboard campaign by the applicant movement on grounds that its activities (including the promotion of human cloning and sensual meditation) were immoral and contrary to public order. By a majority of 9 to 8, the Grand Chamber upheld the earlier Chamber judgment that the Swiss decision was within the margin of appreciation, among other things because the poster campaign was closer in its nature to commercial speech rather than political speech.

The case has a number of unusual features, not the least of which is the Raelian Movement itself, a non-profit organisation that seeks to make contact with extra-terrestrials. The Grand Chamber judgment also has implications for advertising and, in particular, the use of hyperlinks.

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