Internet case-law of the ECtHR will soon be enriched. Magyar Jeti Zrt v Hungary is a new important pending case. It concerns liability for hyperlinks in the domestic defamation law and its compatibility with freedom of expression.
The applicant is in the case is an operator of the Hungarian news portal 444.hu which is used by approximately 250,000 users per day. The applicant often utilises hyperlinks embedded in the published contents, which lead readers to relating materials published elsewhere. On 5 September 2013 a group of football supporters travelling to Romania stopped at an elementary school in Konyár, Hungary. The pupils of the school were predominantly of Roma origin. After getting off the bus, the football supporters made racist remarks, waved flags; and one of them allegedly urinated on the school building. Some minutes later the football supporters got back on the bus and left the village.
It is without doubt that the decision of the Court will set important limits for the future of freedom of expression online. Therefore, on Monday, European Information Society Institute (EISi) filed its third party intervention also co-authored by me. The submission explains the importance of hyperlinks for the functioning of the Internet and illustrates how imposing restrictions on their use can have strong adverse effects on our societies.