European Court of Human Rights says online media not liable for readers’ comments

February 2, 2016

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The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on Tuesday that a Hungarian court violated the freedom of expression when it held the publisher of online daily index.hu and the Hungarian Content Service Association liable for comments posted to index.hu’s website, providing the comments are moderated in a timely manner.

In 2010 a company did not like comments posted under an article appearing on the online daily.  Even though index.hu immediately removed the comment, the company filed suit.  In its decision, the Hungarian court ruled that online publications were responsible for unmoderated comments, even short-lived ones.

In the wake of this decision, a number of online newspapers removed the comment section.

Strasbourg ruled today that the decision violated the European Union right to freedom of expression.

Index.hu reports that the situation would have been different if it had not immediately removed the insulting comments upon learning of them.

Reference:

http://index.hu/belfold/2016/02/02/komment_strasbourg_velemenyszabadsag/