Refusing Journalist Access to a Reception Centre For Asylum-Seekers Breach of Article 10

In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Szurovecz v. Hungary (application no. 15428/16) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned media access to reception facilities for asylum-seekers. The applicant in the case, a journalist for an Internet news portal, complained about the authorities’ refusal of his request to carry out interviews and take photographs at the Debrecen Reception Centre, thus preventing him from reporting on the living conditions there.

 The Court stressed that research work was an essential part of press freedom and had to be protected.

 It was not convinced that restricting the applicant’s ability to carry out such research work, which had prevented him from reporting first-hand on a matter of considerable public interest, namely the refugee crisis in Hungary, had been sufficiently justified.

 In particular, the authorities had only given summary reasons, namely possible problems for the safety and private lives of asylum-seekers, for their refusal, without any real weighing up of the interests at stake.

 Read the full judgement: ECtHR,

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