ECHR: Public Persons and the Right to Privacy

An interesting case recently decided by the European Court of Human Rights, involved a German newspaper article with pictures of a famous actor about his arrest on possession of cocaine at a beer festival. The Hamburg Regional Court confirmed an injunction, requested by the actor, against any further publication of both articles.  The Newspaper’s appeal of the injunction against publication of the articles was dismissed by the Hamburg Court of Appeals. The German Federal Constitutional Court declined to decide the case, without stating the reasons for its decision. Therafter, the case was referred to the European Court of Human Rights.

The ECHR deemed that the articles on the actor’s criminal conviction were based on public records that were of general interest. As far as the popularity of the actor, the Court noted that he was a well-known television personality. The ECHR also pointed out that because the individual concerned had disclosed details of his life, he should have expected that his right to respect for his private life would be limited. For the full note on this subject written by Theresa Papademetriou please see The US Library of Congress Global Legal Monitor