31 juil. 2011
ECtHR: freedom of expression allows a journalist to say that a wine is “shit”, Uj, 23954/10
Hungarian Supreme Court made a reprimand to journalist Péter Uj for characterizing wine produced by T.Zrt as “shit”, i.e defamation violating the right to good reputation (§§ 8-9). He wrote: “hundreds of thousands of Hungarians drink this shit with pride, even devotion” (§ 6), and the ECtHR understood him.
The ECtHR concluded that this reprimand had been unnecessary in a democratic society, that there was no pressing social need (§ 19) to sanction the wine expert. The judges focused on the purpose of the word “shit” that was not to insult but to serve merely as a stylistic decoration (§ 20), since calling a low quality wine “shit” is a common practice (§ 24). In this context, “shit” is not defamation but a value judgment raising awareness about the disadvantages of the economic policy (§ 23).