Friday 8 October 2021

ECHR Articles in Newest NQHR

The newest edition of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (NQHR, volume 39, issue 3) includes two new academic articles related to the ECHR:

* Dimitrios Kagiaros, 'Reassessing the framework for the protection of civil servant whistleblowers in the European Court of Human Rights':

'The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) has included civil servant whistleblowers in the protective ambit of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The article argues that the Court should revisit its approach to proportionality in such cases. When determining whether a restriction to a civil servant whistleblower's free speech was necessary in a democratic society, the Court weighs what the article identifies as the quasi-public watchdog function of whistleblowers (namely their role in imparting information on matters of public concern) against their duties and responsibilities as civil servants. In some instances, the Court gives primacy to whistleblowers’ duties of loyalty to the government over their contribution to the accountability of public bodies. The article challenges this approach on the basis that it fails to adequately consider the key justification that underpins the Court's recognition of whistleblowing as speech, namely the audience interest in receiving the information the whistleblower discloses. The article argues that the Court should give primacy to the watchdog function of whistleblowers. It concludes by making suggestions on how the ECtHR can adopt a more principled approach to proportionality in whistleblowing cases.'

* Katie Pentney, 'Licensed to kill…discourse? agents provocateurs and a purposive right to freedom of expression':

'Undercover police operations have emerged from the shadows and into the spotlight in the United Kingdom as a result of a public inquiry into undercover policing and the enactment of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act. The inquiry has revealed troubling details about the ways intelligence and police services have wielded their powers to infiltrate and undermine political groups and social movements over the course of five decades. The problem is not exclusive to the United Kingdom, but is seen the world over. Yet despite the widescale nature of the problem, the legality of agents provocateurs – undercover officers who infiltrate social and political movements to manipulate their messaging, instigate violent tactics and undermine public perception – has received scant attention in legal scholarship or the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This article capitalises on the current spotlight to suggest that agents provocateurs can and should be conceived of as (potential) violations of the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights. A purposive approach is required to ensure protection for not only the means of expression – the exchange of information and ideas – but also the ends – vibrant democratic discourse and meaningful public debate.'