Judges have told the Icelandic authorities that they were wrong to order journalists to pay damages for quoting critics of two of the country’s strip clubs.
The 10 July European Court of Human Rights decision in the of Björk Eidsdottir v. Iceland (application no. 46443/09) and Erla Hlynsdottir v. Iceland (application no. 43380/10), which are not final, declared unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights in both cases.
The complaints concerned defamation proceedings against two Icelandic journalists for their articles about the working conditions in a strip club and an alleged assault at another strip club, respectively.
The court held in particular that the articles had contributed to a public debate and that the journalists had balanced the statements in question by also presenting the strip club owners’ respective accounts of the situation.
The court held that Iceland was to pay Ms Eidsdottir 7,790 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary damage, EUR 5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 25,000 in respect of costs and expenses.
It also held that Iceland was to pay Ms Hlynsdottir EUR 4,000 in respect of pecuniary damage, EUR 5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 12,500 in respect of costs and expenses.