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Roşiianu v. Romania

Closed Expands Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Press / Newspapers
  • Date of Decision
    June 24, 2014
  • Outcome
    ECtHR, Article 10 Violation
  • Case Number
    No. 27329/06
  • Region & Country
    Romania, Europe and Central Asia
  • Judicial Body
    European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
  • Type of Law
    International/Regional Human Rights Law
  • Themes
    Access to Public Information
  • Tags
    Public Interest, Right to Information

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

Romania violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by denying journalist Ioan Romeo Roşiianu’s request for access to public documents relating to the use of public funds. Roşiianu’s request came after he was fired from his position as the host of a television program that had been discussing the local mayor’s use of public funds.


Facts

Ioan Romeo Roşiianu, a Romanian journalist, had been hosting a news show on a regional channel for six years when, in January 2005, he was fired and his show cancelled. Among other issues, the show had been discussing the use of public funds by the mayor of Baia Mare. The program was replaced with a show funded by a municipality of the town.

Roşiianu requested access to public documents concerning the use of public funds, as provided by Romanian law and Article 10 of the ECHR. The mayor of Baia Mare rejected such requests and, subsequently, failed to comply with tribunal sentences ordering him to hand over the documents. The Court of Appeal in Cluj, in reinstating the order, also required that Baia Mare’s mayor pay compensation to Roşiianu.


Decision Overview

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) recognized that Roşiianu had tried to acquire information from the public authorities in order to contribute to an informed debate on a topic of great interest to society, namely, the use of public funds by the mayor of Baia Mare. The ECtHR stressed that when the information sought is available, access can be denied only in cases established by law and when the limitation pursues a legitimate aim under Article 10(2) of the ECHR. Because there were no adequate grounds for the denial of Roşiianu’s request, to have done so amounted to a violation of his right to access information as protected under Article 10(1) of the ECHR.

Roşiianu was granted compensation for moral damages, and, additionally, the ECtHR found that the municipality’s failure to comply with Romanian tribunals’ orders constituted a violation of his right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR.


Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Expands Expression

With this decision, the ECtHR reaffirmed that the freedom to receive information under Article 10 of the ECHR includes the right to access information that is of public interest and that national authorities cannot unreasonably deny such requests.

Global Perspective

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Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Related International and/or regional laws

  • ECHR, art. 10
  • ECHR, art. 6
  • ECtHR, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union v. Hungary, App. No. 37374/05 (2009)
  • ECtHR, Youth Initiative for Human Rights v. Serbia, App. No. 48135/06 (2013)
  • ECtHR, Shapovalov v. Ukraine No. 45835/05 (2012)
  • ECtHR, Kenedi v. Hungary, App. No. 31475/05 (2009)
  • ECtHR, Appleby v. United Kingdom, App. No. 44306/98 (2003)
  • ECtHR, Observer v. United Kingdom, App. No. 13585/88 (1991)
  • ECtHR, Thorgeirson v. Iceland, App. No. 13778/88 (1992)
  • ECtHR, Tromsø v. Norway, App. No. 21980/93 (1999)
  • ECtHR, Jersild v. Denmark, App. No. 15890/89 (1994)
  • ECtHR, Dammann v. Switzerland, App. No. 77551/01 (2006)

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • Rom., Const. art. 31
  • Rom., Law 544/2001

Case Significance

Quick Info

Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

The decision establishes a binding or persuasive precedent within its jurisdiction.

ECtHR judgments are binding on the parties before it.

The decision was cited in:

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