(Application no. 39311/05)
28 April 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 Karakó v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Ireneu Cabral Barreto,
Işıl Karakaş, judges,
and Sally Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 17 March and 7 April 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that last-mentioned date:
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“Dr. László Karakó, in his capacity as a member of the Fidesz... in the Regional General Assembly, regularly voted against the interests of the county. Moreover, in the debate concerning the route of the M3 highway, he did not support the version favourable to the county, with which − aside from the county − he probably harmed his own electoral district the most.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, ...
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society ... for the prevention of disorder or crime ,... or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
1. The parties' arguments
"1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. ...
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 ... the protection of the reputation or rights of others ..."
2. The Court's assessment
II. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
Done in English, and notified in writing on 28 April 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Sally Dollé Françoise Tulkens
In accordance with Article 45 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 74 § 2 of the Rules of Court, the partly concurring opinion of Judge Jočienė is annexed to this judgment.
PARTLY CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE JOCIENE
In another case, Chauvy and Others v. France (no. 64915/01, § 70, ECHR 2004-VI), concerning a complaint under Article 10, the Court found that a person's reputation, which was affected by the publication of a book, was protected by Article 8 as part of the right to respect for private life and had to be balanced against the right to freedom of expression. This approach was followed in Abeberry v. France ((dec.), no. 58729/00, 21 September 2004) and Leempoel & S.A. ED. Ciné Revue v. Belgium (no. 64772/01, § 67, 9 November 2006). I agree that the right to the protection of a person's reputation and honour, as such, was left open in Gunnarsson v. Iceland ((dec.), no. 4591/04, 20 October 2005). However, in the Pfeifer case (§ 35), the Court came to the conclusion that a person's reputation, even if that person is criticised in the context of a public debate, forms part of his or her personal identity and psychological integrity and therefore also falls within the scope of his or her “private life”, and Article 8 therefore applies.
Therefore, I think that the question in paragraph 22 of the present judgment is not needed for the reasons explained above. Furthermore, I cannot agree with the majority's position in paragraph 23 that a person's reputation has been deemed to be an independent right only sporadically, or mostly when the factual allegations were of a serious nature. In my opinion, it is clear from the jurisprudence of the Court which I have cited above that a person's reputation falls within the scope of “private life” and attracts the protection of Article 8, not only sporadically but whenever it is justified according to the circumstances of the concrete case.