OSCE representative concerned about defamation sentences in Denmark, urges decriminalization
VIENNA, 13 May 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed her concern about fines handed down to four Danish journalists for defamation.
On 12 May the appeals court of Østre Landsret fined Kåre Quist, Dorthe Vest Andersen, Sara Munck Andersen and Lisbeth Kølster, journalists with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, more than €30,000 in criminal fines over allegations in a 2009 radio broadcast in which they criticized Boligadministratorerne A/S, a housing association. The journalists had been acquitted by a district court in 2011.
“Civil courts are fully competent to satisfy grievances of people who think their reputations have been damaged,” Mijatović said. “I renew my call on the authorities to fully decriminalize defamation and for legal reform that guarantees only reasonable damages are awarded by courts.”
The Representative has been calling for decriminalization of defamation throughout the OSCE region since she took office in 2010. She raised the issue of full decriminalization of defamation in Denmark during her official visit to the country in November 2013. The Representative’s statement from that visit is available at http://www.osce.org/fom/108769.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.