Decision of the ECHR of 05 may 2020 in the case "Mandli and others v. Hungary" (aplication N 63164/16).
in 2016, the applicants were assisted in preparing the fplication. The aplication was subsequently communicated to Hungary.
The case successfully addressed an aplication about the lack of adequate safeguards in a situation where journalists were suspended from accreditation to the country's Parliament due to interviews and videos made with members of Parliament outside specially designated zones. The case violated the requirements of article 10 of the Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The accreditation of applicants-journalists to enter the Hungarian Parliament was suspended by the speaker of the Parliament in connection with interviews and videos made by applicants with the participation of members of Parliament outside of specially defined zones. The applicants ' accreditation was suspended for five months.
POINT OF LAW
Regarding compliance with article 10 of the Convention. The suspension of applicants ' accreditation to enter the Hungarian Parliament for almost five months had negative consequences, as it prevented applicants from receiving first-hand information based on their personal knowledge of the work of the Parliament and the events taking place in it. Consequently, there was an interference with the applicants ' right to freedom of expression.
The contested interference had a legal basis, and the relevant rules met the requirement of "legality". The applicants, who were media professionals, were aware of these standards, and if they behaved improperly, they were expected to be escorted out of the Parliament building and banned from entering it.
The intervention was intended to prevent disruption of the Parliament in order to ensure its effective functioning, and thus served the legitimate purpose of "preventing disorder". It was also intended to protect members of Parliament and, accordingly, was intended to "protect the rights of others".
The records examined in the case were intended to present members of Parliament in a sensational light. The applicants intended to record the reaction of members of Parliament to statements about allegedly illegal payments related to the National Bank, an issue of significant public interest that attracted significant media attention. As for the importance for applicants to gain access to the Parliament building for further reporting, this aspect was related to issues in which the public had a legitimate interest.
Taking into account the fact that the alleged misconduct of the applicants took place outside of parliamentary sessions or other political discussions in Parliament, the present case should be distinguished from situations where the authorities took action in response to statements or actions that disrupted the normal course of parliamentary discussions. However, parliaments are entitled to some degree of protection when regulating the activities of persons in the Parliament building by establishing special recording zones to avoid violations of the work of parliaments and the obvious manifestation of such violations, and the European Court of justice's assessment of these rules should be limited. In any case, in the present case, the ban on recording was limited to clearly defined special zones in the Hungarian Parliament building, which apparently had a direct bearing on the functioning of the legislative authority. In addition, by failing to comply with the record-keeping rules, the applicants knowingly risked being subjected to penalties. Consequently, the disputed recovery had the appropriate grounds. The European Court decided not to consider whether these reasons were sufficient. Instead, it focused on whether the restriction applied was accompanied by effective and appropriate safeguards against abuse of position.
With regard to the manner in which the penalty was applied to the applicants, the procedural guarantees had to be adapted to the parliamentary sphere, taking into account the generally accepted principles of parliamentary autonomy and separation of powers. However, it was precisely because of these principles that the applicants could not be considered entitled to a remedy to appeal outside Parliament against the sanction imposed by the parliamentary authorities. The absence of any external control made the argument about procedural guarantees particularly relevant in the present case.
During the period relevant to the circumstances of the case, Hungarian law contained a restriction on entering Parliament in the event of a violation of the relevant rules, without requiring an assessment of the potential impact of the sanction or the relevance of the journalistic activity that caused the restriction. Hungarian law did not allow those subject to penalties to participate in the relevant decision-making process. In the case of applicants, the entire procedure consisted of a letter addressed to the relevant editors-in-chief informing them of the suspension of the applicants ' accreditation. In addition, neither the relevant regulations nor the contested decision to prohibit applicants from entering the Parliament established the period of restriction, and subsequent requests from applicants to grant permission to enter the Parliament building remained unanswered. In conclusion, Hungarian law did not provide for effective means of appealing the decision of the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament by which the applicants could present their arguments.
In view of the above, the impugned interference with the applicants ' right to freedom of expression was not proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued, as it was not accompanied by due process guarantees.
The case violated the requirements of article 10 of the Convention (adopted unanimously).
In the application of article 41 of the Convention. The European Court of justice held that the finding of a violation of the Convention was in itself sufficient just compensation for non-pecuniary damage.