Held: Freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society. The safeguards to be afforded to the press are of particular importance. Not only does the press have the task of imparting such information and ideas: the public also has a right to receive them. It is not for this court, nor for the national courts for that matter, to substitute their own views for those of the press as to what technique of reporting should be adopted by journalists. In this context the court recalls that article 10 protects not only the substance of the ideas and information expressed, but also the form in which they are conveyed. Tags: Human Rights , Media.

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The case was referred to the Court on 9 September by the European Commission of Human Rights "the Commission" and on 11 October by the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark "the Government" , within the three-month period laid down by Article 32 para. It originated in an application no. The Commission's request referred to Articles 44 and 48 art. The object of the request and of the Government's application was to obtain a decision as to whether the facts of the case disclosed a breach by the respondent State of its obligations under Article 10 art.

In response to the enquiry made in accordance with Rule 33 para. The Chamber to be constituted included ex officio Mr I. Foighel, the elected judge of Danish nationality Article 43 of the Convention art. Ryssdal, the President of the Court Rule 21 para. However, on 20 September Mr Foighel withdrew from the case pursuant to Rule 24 para. On 24 September , in the presence of the Registrar, the President drew by lot the names of the other seven members, namely Mr R.

Macdonald, Mrs E. Palm, Mr R. Pekkanen, Mr M. Lopes Rocha, Mr G. Mifsud Bonnici, Mr J. Makarczyk and Mr D. Gotchev Article 43 in fine of the Convention and Rule 21 para. Waaben as an ad hoc judge; in a letter of 16 November the Agent informed the Registrar that Mr Waaben had withdrawn and that they had therefore appointed Mr A.

Philip to replace him Article 43 of the Convention and Rule 23 art. As President of the Chamber Rule 21 para. Pursuant to the order made in consequence, the Registrar received the Government's memorial on 18 February and the applicant's memorial on 20 February.

In a letter of 7 March the Secretary to the Commission informed the Registrar that the Delegate did not wish to reply in writing. On 23 February the President, having consulted the Chamber, had granted leave to Human Rights Watch, a New York based non-governmental human rights organisation, to submit observations on specific aspects of the case Rule 37 para. The latter's comments were filed on 23 March. On 23 February the Chamber had authorised Rule 41 para.

A showing was held shortly before the hearing on 20 April. On 23 February the Chamber had also decided to relinquish jurisdiction forthwith in favour of a Grand Chamber Rule Bernhardt, as well as the other members of the Chamber being ex officio members of the Grand Chamber, the names of the additional nine judges were drawn by lot by the President in the presence of the Registrar on 24 February Rule 51 para.

Russo, Mr A. Spielmann, Mr N. Valticos, Mr S. Martens, Mr A. Loizou, Mr J. Morenilla, Mr L. Wildhaber and Mr B. On various dates between 22 March and 15 April the Commission produced a number of documents and two video-cassettes, as requested by the Registrar on the President's instructions, and the applicant submitted further details on his claims under Article 50 art.

In accordance with the President's decision, the hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 20 April The Court had held a preparatory meeting beforehand. There appeared before the Court: - for the Government: Mr T. Rozakis Delegate ; - for the applicant: Mr K. Johannessen, lawyer Adviser. He was at the time of the events giving rise to the present case, and still is, employed by Danmarks Radio Danish Broadcasting Corporation, which broadcasts not only radio but also television programmes , assigned to its Sunday News Magazine Sondagsavisen.

The latter is known as a serious television programme intended for a well-informed audience, dealing with a wide range of social and political issues, including xenophobia, immigration and refugees. On 31 May the newspaper Information published an article describing the racist attitudes of members of a group of young people, calling themselves "the Greenjackets" "gronjakkerne" , at Osterbro in Copenhagen.

In the light of this article, the editors of the Sunday News Magazine decided to produce a documentary on the Greenjackets. Subsequently the applicant contacted representatives of the group, inviting three of them together with Mr Per Axholt, a social worker employed at the local youth centre, to take part in a television interview. During the interview, which was conducted by the applicant, the three Greenjackets made abusive and derogatory remarks about immigrants and ethnic groups in Denmark.

It lasted between five and six hours, of which between two and two and a half hours were video-recorded. Danmarks Radio paid the interviewees fees in accordance with its usual practice. The applicant subsequently edited and cut the film of the interview down to a few minutes. The transcript of the Greenjackets item reads as follows [ I : TV presenter; A : the applicant; G : one or other of the Greenjackets]:. I "In recent years, a great deal has been said about racism in Denmark.

The papers are currently publishing stories about distrust and resentment directed against minorities. Who are the people who hate the minorities? Where do they come from? What is their mentality like? G Yes, that's what I regard myself as. It's good being a racist. We believe Denmark is for the Danes. It is public housing, a lot of the inhabitants are unemployed and on social security; the crime rate is high.

Some of the young people in this neighbourhood have already been involved in criminal activities and have already been convicted. G Nothing. I just ran into a petrol station with a Then I ran out again. That's all. A You have just come out of They meet not far away from the public housing area near some old houses which are to be torn down. They meet here to reaffirm among other things their racism, their hatred of immigrants and their support for the Ku Klux Klan.

G The Ku Klux Klan, that's something that comes from the States in the old days during - you know - the civil war and things like that, because the Northern States wanted that the niggers should be free human beings, man, they are not human beings, they are animals, right, it's completely wrong, man, the things that happened.

People should be allowed to keep slaves, I think so anyway. G No, you can also see that from their body structure, man, big flat noses, with cauliflower ears etc. Broad heads and very broad bodies, man, hairy, you are looking at a gorilla and compare it with an ape, man, then it is the same [behaviour], man, it's the same movements, long arms, man, long fingers etc.

A A lot of people are saying something different. There are a lot of people who say, but G Just take a picture of a gorilla, man, and then look at a nigger, it's the same body structure and everything, man, flat forehead and all kinds of things. G Of course, there is always someone who wants to show off, as if they are better than the white man, but in the long run, it's the white man who is better.

G It means a great deal, because I think what they do is right. A nigger is not a human being, it's an animal, that goes for all the other foreign workers as well, Turks, Yugoslavs and whatever they are called. A Henrik is 19 years old and on welfare. He lives in a rented room in Studsgardsgade. Henrik is one of the strongest supporters of the Klan, and he hates the foreign workers, Perkere' [a very derogatory word in Danish for immigrant workers].

G They come up here, man, and sponge on our society. But we, we have enough problems in getting our social benefits, man, they just get it. Fuck, we can argue with those idiots up there at the social benefit office to get our money, man, they just get it, man, they are the first on the housing list, they get better flats than us, man, and some of our friends who have children, man, they are living in the worst slum, man, they can't even get a shower in their flat, man, then those Perkere'-families, man, go up there with seven kids, man, and they just get an expensive flat, right there and then.

They get everything paid, and things like that, that can't be right, man, Denmark is for the Danes, right? It is the fact that they are Perkere', that's what we don't like, right, and we don't like their mentality - I mean they can damn well, I mean I mean if they feel like speaking Russian in their homes, right, then it's okay, but what we don't like is when they walk around in those Zimbabwe-clothes and then speak this hula-hula language in the street, and if you ask them something or if you get into one of their taxis then they say: I don't know where it is, you give directions right.

A Is it not so that perhaps you are a bit envious that some of the Perkere' as you call them have their own shops, and cars, they can make ends G It's drugs they are selling, man, half of the prison population in Vestre' are in there because of drugs, man, half of those in Vestre prison anyway, they are the people who are serving time for dealing drugs or something similar. They are in there, all the Perkere', because of drugs, right.

We have painted their doors and hoped that they would get fed up with it, so that they would soon leave, and jumped on their cars and thrown paint in their faces when they were lying in bed sleeping. G Because it was white paint, I think that suited them well, that was the intended effect. G He just got it in his face, that's all. Well, I think he woke up, and then he came out and shouted something in his hula-hula language. G I don't know, it's just kid's stuff, like other people throwing water in people's faces, he got paint in his.

They can't make anything out of that. He has worked there for several years, but many give up a lot sooner because of the tough environment. Per Axholt feels that the reasons why the young people are persecuting the immigrants is that they are themselves powerless and disappointed. P Just what you and I want.


Jersild v. Denmark

Closed Expands Expression. Global Freedom of Expression is an academic initiative and therefore, we encourage you to share and republish excerpts of our content so long as they are not used for commercial purposes and you respect the following policy:. Attribution, copyright, and license information for media used by Global Freedom of Expression is available on our Credits page. The European Court of Human Rights ECtHR determined that the conviction of a Danish journalist for aiding and abetting a xenophobic group violated the freedom of expression. In May , the Sunday News Magazine ran a story about the growth of a xenophobic and racist group, the Greenjackets, whose members resided in a Copenhagen public housing community. Two months later, the same outlet aired an interview with three members of the Greenjackets, conducted by Danish journalist Jens Olaf Jersild. The five-hour interview was shortened to a few minutes, throughout which the three young group members made derogatory statements about racial minorities and immigrants in Denmark and throughout the world.


Jersild v Denmark, ECHR (1994)

The case was referred to the Court on 9 September by the European Commission of Human Rights "the Commission" and on 11 October by the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark "the Government" , within the three-month period laid down by Article 32 para. It originated in an application no. The Commission's request referred to Articles 44 and 48 art. The object of the request and of the Government's application was to obtain a decision as to whether the facts of the case disclosed a breach by the respondent State of its obligations under Article 10 art. In response to the enquiry made in accordance with Rule 33 para.

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