This principle coming from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights was recalled by lawyer Andrea Di Pietro in the defence of Raffaella Fanelli. The investigative judge in Milan dismissed defamation charges against the journalist
In defending journalist Raffaella Fanelli, who was acquitted of aggravated defamation by the investigating magistrate, I relied on the principle of the renewed historical interest of the news, especially when facts go beyond the mere news item. This was recently reaffirmed by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Fuchsmann vs Germany (Application No. 71233/17) of 19 October 2017.
The European Court reiterated a principle that is well-established in the Court’s case-law that is increasingly inspired by raising standards on freedom of expression. In fact, the Court takes the view that the right to inform prevails over the protetion of reputation, when the subject of the news, despite the passage of time, retains not only a public, but also a historical relevance, and the story told is appropriate to “renew the public debate on certain topics”.
They European Court basically says that freedom of information prevails over the right to reputation and privacy, in all cases when news, stories and characters which have gone beyond mere daily news interest are at stake. Exactly what happened in the case of Raffaella Fanelli.
Mr. Andrea Di Pietro is a lawyer and the coordinator of Ossigeno’s legal assistance: for more information see here.