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12° Nicosia,
06 October, 2022
 
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ECHR vindicates Cypriot journalist

Strasburg scolds Cypriot courts by backing Makarios Drousiotis’ right to harshly criticize public figures

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A Cypriot journalist won his lawsuit against the Republic of Cyprus this week, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that he was censured in violation of the right to freedom of expression.

Author and investigative journalist Makarios Drousiotis won his ECHR case on Tuesday against Cyprus, where he had been found liable for defamation in an article he had published in daily Politis.

In March 2005, Drousiotis penned a damming piece about a Cabinet “secret decision” to extend the position of a high-ranking official within the Legal Department, using strong and coarse expressions about the public figure and suggesting not even his supervisor had known about the plan.

“Now they are extending the position for Akis Papasavvas because he is sucking up to Christofias, who is destining him to be the attorney general!” Drousiotis wrote.

ECHR found that public discussion about an extension of service would be subjected to scrutiny by the press, suggesting interference from Cypriot courts was not necessary in a democratic society

The journalist and his publishers were ordered to pay the Papasavvas €25,000 plus statutory interest, after the public filed a lawsuit for defamation and further argued his professional prospects had been harmed by the article.

Drousiotis and Politis took their case to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal and imposed a €25,000 fine.

But the judges in Strasburg ruled that the fine was “disproportionate” and sided with Drousiotis, citing freedom of expression in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

ECHR ruled in Drousiotis’ favor and ordered €12,000 in non-pecuniary damages as well as €5,362.50 in other costs and expenses.

The bench found that public discussion about a possible extension of service would be subjected to scrutiny by the press, suggesting that interference from Cypriot courts was not necessary in a democratic society.

This is not the only incident where Drousiotis cried foul over encroachment and censorship.

Last year, the renowned investigative journalist, whose scheduled appearance on television was scrapped, went on to argue he had been banned from media because of books on power and corruption.

In 2020, the former presidential advisor said he feared for his life after discovering evidence of surveillance and hacking of his writing, messages, and home security apparatus, while he believed his travels were also monitored.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  freedom of expression  |  journalism  |  defamation  |  Makarios Drousiotis  |  Politis  |  politics  |  media  |  ECHR  |  human rights  |  court

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