Finland: Court rejects photo-journalist’s complaint

Judges have accepted that Finland’s authorities did not breach the human rights of a photo-journalist, who was convicted of disobedience after covering a demonstration.

In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Pentikäinen v. Finland (application no. 11882/10), the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:

no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the apprehension of a media photographer during a demonstration and his subsequent detention and conviction for disobeying the police.

The court found that the Finnish authorities had based their decisions on relevant and sufficient reasons and had struck a fair balance between the competing interests at stake. They had not deliberately prevented or hindered the media from covering the demonstration.

Pentikäinen had not been prevented from carrying out his work as a journalist either during or after the demonstration. In particular, he had not been apprehended for his work as a journalist as such but for refusing to obey police orders to leave the scene of the demonstration.

His equipment had not been confiscated and he had not been sanctioned.

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