Judgment concerning Portugal

Staircase of the main hall of the Human Rights building

In the case of Almeida Arroja v. Portugal the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

The case concerned the applicant’s criminal conviction for aggravated defamation and causing offence to a legal entity. He had implied, during a broadcast on a television channel, that a legal opinion provided to a public hospital by a law firm, whose director happened to be a well-known politician and member of the European Parliament, had been motivated by political interests.

The Court found that the statements had been part of a broad critique on links between politics and public administration and as such had not been statements of facts. As a result both the conviction and the penalties imposed, which would have had a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression, had been manifestly disproportionate.

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