The ECHR judgment of 17 January 2017 in the case of Jankovskis v. Lithuania (application No. 21575/08).
In 2008, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Lithuania.
In the case, the complaint on the restriction established with regard to the access of the prisoner to the Internet site containing educational information was successfully considered. The case involved a violation of the requirements of Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant, who was a prisoner, complained that he was denied access to a website belonging to the Ministry of Education and Science, which deprived him of the opportunity to receive information related to education, in violation of Article 10 of the Convention.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with the requirements of Article 10 of the Convention. The matter in question was not about the refusal of the authorities to provide the requested information. On the contrary, the applicant's complaint concerned specific means of access, namely through the Internet, to information published on the website, which was available in an open source of information. The deprivation of liberty inevitably imposes a number of restrictions on the communication of prisoners with the outside world, including their ability to receive information. Article 10 of the Convention can not be interpreted as imposing a general obligation to provide prisoners with access to the Internet or to specific Internet sites. However, in the circumstances of the present case, since access to information relating to education was guaranteed by Lithuanian law, restriction of access to the relevant Internet site constituted an interference with the applicant's right to receive information. This interference was provided by law and pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the rights of others and preventing riots and crimes. The Internet site to which the applicant wanted to access had contained information on training and educational programs in Lithuania. The information on this site was regularly updated to reflect, for example, the requirements for entrants in the current school year. It was not unreasonable to conclude that such information had a direct bearing on the applicant's interest in obtaining an education, which in turn mattered for his rehabilitation and subsequent reintegration into society. Decisions made at the country level focused on the statutory prohibition of prisoners having access to the Internet, rather than considering the applicant's argument that access to a particular website was necessary for his education. The Internet plays an important role in people's daily lives, in particular, because certain information is available only on the Internet. The authorities of Lithuania did not consider the possibility of granting the applicant limited or controlled access to the Internet to a particular site belonging to a government agency, which could hardly pose a serious security threat. The Court is not convinced that sufficient reasons have been put forward to justify interference with the applicant's right to receive information, which under specific circumstances of the case could not be considered necessary in a democratic society.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 10 of the Convention (unanimously adopted).
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The finding of a violation of the Convention is sufficient compensation for non-pecuniary damage. (See also Kalda v. Estonia, judgment of 19 January 2016, application no. 17429/10).