CASE OF FLUX v. MOLDOVA (no. 7)
(Application no. 25367/05)
24 November 2009
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Flux v. Moldova (no. 7),
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 3 November 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“According to certain sources in Parliament, who have asked to remain anonymous, the future owners of the relevant apartments include V.S., the president of the communist faction in Parliament, C.G., head of the Parliament apparatus, and M.R., the president of Floreşti county.”
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
“(1) Every person has the right to the respect for his or her honour, dignity and professional reputation.
(2) Every person has the right to request the disclaiming of information which affects his or her honour, dignity and professional reputation if the person circulating such information cannot prove that it corresponds to reality.
.. (4) Where information which affects a person's honour, dignity and professional reputation is circulated in a mass medium, the court shall order it to publish a disclaimer in the same column, page, programme or series of programmes, within a maximum of 15 days of the date of entry into force of the court judgment.
... (7) A person whose rights and lawful interests have been violated by a publication in a mass medium has the right to publish a reply in the medium in question, at the latter's expense.
(8) Every person about whom information has been published violating his or her honour, dignity and professional reputation has the right to request compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage in addition to the publication of a disclaimer.”
“Article 18. Period of submission of enforcement warrants.
1. A court judgment can be submitted for enforcement within three years from the date when the judgment became final, if the law does not provide otherwise. ...”
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal ...”
Article 10 reads as follows:
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 10 OF THE CONVENTION
A. The arguments of the parties
1. The applicant newspaper
2. The Government
B. The Court's assessment
1. “Prescribed by law”
2. “Legitimate aim”
3. “Necessary in a democratic society”
The present case must therefore be distinguished from Flux v. Moldova (no. 6), cited above, in which the same newspaper, while unable to prove the facts on which it had reported, had not even attempted to verify them or to give those concerned an opportunity to comment or reply (see also Rumyana Ivanova v. Bulgaria, no. 36207/03, §§ 55-71, 14 February 2008).
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
A. Pecuniary damage
B. Non-pecuniary damage
C. Costs and expenses
D. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into Moldovan lei at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 12.25 (twelve euros and twenty-five cents), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(iii) EUR 1,800 (one thousand eight hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 24 November 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President