MEPs support again the rules on defamation in Rome II

By EDRi · February 14, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The European Parliament has voted in its second reading on the Rome II
Regulation to reintroduce the rules regarding the defamation by media or
publications via the Internet and other electronic networks. The Rome II
regulation is establishing the rules on the applicable law to
non-contractual obligations.
The member states and media organizations wanted a simple formula to be
introduced and not to apply the general principle – the applicable law to be
that of the country in which the defamed person lives. That would
practically mean that every media company would have to know the privacy and
defamation laws of every European country.

At the first reading in July 2005, MEPs had approved a compromise amendment
that regulated the violation of privacy by a printed or audiovisual media. The Council decided to delete this provision from its Common Position. In the vote in plenary, MEPs decided to reintroduce the same rules, as adopted at the first reading.

The Parliament’s amendment suggests that in the case of print or broadcast
media the law which should apply in disputes is the law of the country to
which the publication or broadcast is most directed. That must be determined
in particular by the language of the publication or broadcast or by sales or
audience size in a given country as a proportion of total sales or audience
size or by a combination of those factors. If that is not an easy fact to
determine, the relevant law will be the one of the country where editorial
control is exercised. This provision will apply also to publications via the
Internet and other electronic networks. Regarding the right to reply, the
applicable law should be the law of the country in which the publisher or
broadcaster has its habitual residence.

Strong disagreemnts between the Council and the Parliament still exist
especially on the defamantion rules. According to Commission Vice-President
Franco Frattini, who spoke before the vote, on the approved rules on
defamation, “there is no way they will get through” in the Council.

MEP Diana Wallis stated her satisfaction on the result of the vote, but also
warned: “We may not have reached the end of the story of Rome II; by again
passing these amendments there will almost certainly have to be a
conciliation process to iron out the final difficulties between the European
law-making institutions.”

The text adopted by the Parliament should go now through the conciliation
procedure, where Member States and MEPs, equally represented, will have to
debate further to find a compromise and approve the Regulation.

Rome II: MEPs reintroduce rules on defamation (18.01.2006)

European Parliament stands firm on cross-border defamation law(2.02.2007)

EDRI-gram: Rome II: Applicable law and freedom of expression (29.06.2005)

EP Legislative Observatory Rome II file