Interception of law-enforcement officers’ radio communications by journalists

Interception of law-enforcement officers’ radio communications by journalists

Brambilla and Others v. Italy – European Court of Human Rights

In the case of Brambilla and Others v. Italy (application no. 22567/09) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

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

The case concerned the conviction of three journalists who intercepted radio communications between carabinieri in order to arrive quickly at crime scenes and report on them for their local newspaper.

Stressing the notion of responsible journalism and noting that the decisions of the domestic courts had been duly reasoned and had focused primarily on the need to protect national security and prevent crime and disorder, the Court found in particular that the courts had made an appropriate distinction between on the one hand the duty of the three journalists to comply with domestic law, which prohibited in general terms the interception by any persons of communications not addressed to them, including those of the law-enforcement agencies, and on the other hand the pursuit of their journalistic activities, which had not been restricted per se.

The Court also noted that the penalties ordered by the domestic courts, consisting in the seizure of the radio equipment and the imposition of custodial sentences, had not been disproportionate, as the sentences of the three journalists had been suspended and the authorities had not prohibited them from bringing news items to the public’s attention.

Salvis Juribus – Rivista di informazione giuridica
Direttore responsabile Avv. Giacomo Romano
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Angelo Ferro

Laureato in Giurisprudenza presso l'Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, laurea magistrale (LMG/01), periodo di studi all’estero presso l’University of World and National Economy (Sofia) e ricerca tesi nell’ ambito del Diritto Finanziario Internazionale presso la Kadir Has University di Istanbul. Giornalista pubblicista, consulente legale nell’ambito delle politiche europee, consegue l’International Master in European Studies presso l’Universitè Catholique de Louvain (Bruxelles) , è attualmente il rappresentate dell’International Youth Federation per l’Italia.

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