Of Rights and Interests

On 30 March 2010 the European Court of Human Rights released its judgment in the case of Petrenco v. Moldova. The case concerned a newspaper article in which negative remarks were made about the applicant’s competence as a historian. The article further alleged that the applicant, a university professor and Chairman of the Association of Historians, had achieved his professional status due to cooperation with the Soviet secret services (KGB). The facts of the case were thus similar to those of an earlier case, Petrina v. Romania (14 October 2008, App. No. 78060/01), concerning a newspaper article alleging the involvement of the applicant with the former Romanian secret service Securitate.

In both cited cases, the person concerned instituted defamation claims at the domestic level. However, since those claims failed when it came to the assessment of the allegations of cooperation with the secret services, the applicants invoked a violation of art. 8 in front of the European Court of Human Rights.

I personally find these types of cases interesting, because they hold the possibility of offering further insight into the Court’s reasoning on the right to reputation under art. 8 and on the conflict that exists between the right to freedom of expression and the right to reputation in defamation cases.

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