Implementation of ECtHR judgments

Violations of the right to free speech have become central to the crisis of democratic backsliding in European States. We witness the healthy functioning of democracies being undermined, and sometimes curtailed, by a combination of factors, depending on the jurisdiction, such as draconian defamation laws silencing journalists through court proceedings, the undermining of free debate through excessive ownership of media outlets by the State or its affiliates, and even widespread violence against reporters.

Currently, there are more than 100 leading ECtHR judgments on free speech awaiting implementation.

To address these pressing issues, the ECtHR has already issued about 300 leading judgments that identify violations of the right to free speech.

However, it is alarming to note that at the time of writing, 50% of the leading free speech judgments handed down by the ECtHR in the last 10 years are still pending implementation.

Project: Promoting Free Speech through European Judgments

FORUM is a new partner of the European Implementation Network (EIN) in their new project Promoting Free Speech through European Judgments across the Council of Europe Member States. As a participant in this project that will run 2 years between 1st September and 31st May 2025, we are dedicated to promoting this fundamental right and the effective implementation of the relevant judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as to advocating for reforms aimed at effectively protecting free speech in Slovakia.

An example of the ECtHR judgment, the implementation of which we are trying to support with this project, is primarily the case of RINGIER AXEL SPRINGER SLOVAKIA, A.S. v. SLOVAKIA (No. 4)

Together with EIN and other partners, we are committed to championing freedom of expression and upholding democratic values throughout Europe. By actively engaging with the implementation process of ECtHR judgements, we aim at creating lasting reforms that protect and promote free speech across the continent.

Activities of the project include:

  • Reaching out to NGOs, lawyers, and journalists specialising in media freedom in all countries where there are relevant ECtHR cases pending implementation, and ensuring that as many cases as possible are being monitored or engaged with by a local partner;
  • Inviting the target group to a capacity-building conference, to be provided with extensive training and resources about how to promote ECtHR judgment implementation in their country;
  • The creation of a research note on best practices, to be circulated to all relevant stakeholders;
  • Ongoing mentoring for partners through legal advice, liaison with the Council of Europe, assistance with drafting written submissions to the Council of Europe’s implementation monitoring process, and advice on advocacy best practices at national level to promote ECtHR implementation;
  • In the second year of the project, a second conference to share lessons-learnt and best practices among stakeholders;
  • Briefings on cases concerning freedom of expression or media freedom to delegates of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe;
  • Reporting on the overall state of implementation of ECtHR judgments concerning free speech, to be distributed to all relevant partners and institutions throughout Europe.

EIN Capacity-building Leipzig Conference

On November 20th and 21st, the European Implementation Network organised a capacity-building conference in Leipzig, Germany. The conference, which gathered more than 40 individuals from 26 European civil society organizations, as well as academics and journalists, aimed to empower civil society and its allies across Europe to promote free speech reforms through the implementation of ECtHR judgments

We appreciate the grant provided for this project by our partner – EIN.