Case of European Court of Human Rights, June 08, 2010 (case Sapan v. Turkey)

Resolution Date:June 08, 2010

Violation of Art. 10 Pecuniary damage - claim dismissed Non-pecuniary damage - award


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 131

June 2010

Sapan v. Turkey - 44102/04

Judgment 8.6.2010 [Section II]

Article 10

Article 10-1

Freedom of expression

Seizure of book for almost two years and eight months on basis of unreasoned judicial decisions: violation

Facts – The applicant is the owner of a publishing house which published a book in 2001 analysing the emergence of stardom as a phenomenon in Turkey and studying a well-known pop singer there. Considering that the book adversely affected his image and his personality rights, the singer applied for and obtained a court order for its seizure and a ban on its distribution. He later brought an action for damages against the applicant and the book’s author before the same court. The applicant applied three times for the seizure order to be lifted, but the court dismissed his applications, without giving reasons. In May 2004 the court finally rejected the singer’s claim for damages and lifted the seizure order on the book. In 2005, however, the Court of Cassation set that judgment aside, considering that the book had infringed the singer’s personality rights. The proceedings are still ongoing in the Turkish courts.

Law – Article 10: the seizure of the book had amounted to interference with the applicant’s enjoyment of his right to freedom of expression. The interference had been prescribed by law for the purpose of protecting the rights of others. The Court noted that the book was a partial reproduction of a doctoral thesis, and emphasised the importance of academic freedom. Through the example of the singer and using scientific methods, the author had analysed the star phenomenon and its appearance in Turkey, so the book could not be likened to the type of material published in the tabloid press and...

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