European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

Malta: Former government minister awaits free expression human rights court judgement

A former Malta government minister, ordered to pay €2500 in libel damages, will find out next week if Strasbourg judges accept his right to free expression was violated.

A European Court of Human Rights judgement in the case Falzon v. Malta (application no. 45791/13) is scheduled for Tuesday 20 March.

The applicant, Michael Falzon, is a Maltese national who was born in 1945 and lives in Naxxar (Malta).

The applicant is a former member of parliament and Government minister. He wrote an opinion piece in Maltatoday in May 2007 about the fact that an MP, also called Michael Falzon, had personally asked the Commissioner of Police to investigate an allegedly threatening email he had received.

Falzon began defamation proceedings, which he won, and the applicant was ordered topay 2,500 euros in damages. Appeals by the applicant were dismissed, ultimately by the Constitutional Court in January 2013.

Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the applicant complains that the courts failed to distinguish between facts and value judgments and submits that his criticism was directed towards a politician and concerned a matter of public interest.

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