By HRC Correspondent, 2 December 2011
The European Court of Human Rights has considered two applications regarding the human rights of companies over the past two months. However, the case of Verein gegen Tierfabriken v Switzerland has been unanimously (and perhaps unsurprisingly) been declared inadmissible, since the Swiss Post Office has been deemed not to be in breach of freedom of expression or association in its decision not to deliver the magazine of the animal protection association to letterboxes which stated “no publicity please”.
The remaining case is that of Centro Europa 7 S.R.L. and Di Stefano v Italy, which concerns an Italian TV company’s inability to broadcast, despite having a broadcasting licence, due to the lack of television frequencies allocated to it. The authorities granted the company a licence in 1999, but the frequency allocation plan, had been effected by interim legislative schemes, which had allowed existing TV channels to extend their use of frequencies that they should in principle have given up. As a result, Centro Europe 7 S.R.L had no frequency attributed to it and was unable to broadcast.
The case rests on the company’s claim that they have been denied their right to impart information in violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression), but they also claim a violation of Articles 14 (prohibition of discrimination), 6:1 (right to a fair hearing) and Article 1 of Protocol 1 (protection of property). The Chamber originally assigned to the case, when it was first brought in 2009, has relinquished responsibility in favour of the Grand Chamber.