Natisni vsebino

Panel: Freedom of Speech Should Not Trump Human Rights

09.12.2011 14:31
Category: work and news


A panel at the Ljubljana Law Faculty discussing the correlation between the media and human rights heard on Friday that the media should not sacrifice the human rights of those they report on for freedom of speech.

Human Rights Ombudsman dr. Zdenka Cebasek Travnik, who hosted the event a day before the UN Human Rights Day, underlined in her address that the media played a significant role in uncovering human rights violations, but they may also abuse them.

Touching on the issue of regulation, Dragan Petrovec of the Criminology Institute of the Law Faculty said it was impossible to regulate this field closely. He wonders when the public will be responsible enough not to reward "bad writing".

Ranka Ivelja, a senior journalist for the daily Dnevnik and the head of the the honorary tribunal of the Journalists' Association and of the Journalists' Trade Union, said the wish was to prevent regulation "which is not good for us, journalists" by promoting self-regulation.

"Practice from abroad, lately from the UK, shows that when self-regulation fails, the state steps in," Ivelja said.

Information Commissioner Natasa Pirc Musar was critical of journalists who believe that freedom of speech is above all personal rights. "These journalists fail to understand that there are other personal rights...Many do not understand the concept of human rights."

Lawyer Nina Zidar Klemencic pointed out that "courts acknowledge the right to privacy as a counterweight to the the right to freedom of speech." She noted, however, that compensations for emotional pain are too low to prevent media from certain actions.

Brankica Petkovic of the Peace Institute told the event that the issue of media in relation to the human rights should be viewed more broadly, taking into consideration political and education systems.

The Association of Social Security Services warned against the effects the media may have on children when they are publicly exposed. "Having their life exposed by the media so early in their lives will mark them for years," said Sendi Murgel.


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