World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Italian courts "put an expiry date on news"

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Italian courts "put an expiry date on news"

The so-called “right to be forgotten” ruling by the European Court of Justice (CJEU) from 2014 gives individuals the right to demand that articles are removed from online search results. The ruling, however, explicitly notes that this right doesn’t extend to newspaper websites because of a journalistic exception in the use of data.

Yet this summer the Italian supreme court upheld a ruling demanding that a news website remove an article from its archives, as the news, in the court’s view, had expired and now violated the plaintiff’s privacy.

Athalie Matthews, in-house lawyer at Guardian News and Media, notes that the Italian ruling fails to distinguish between source and search engine, as unlike CJEU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling, this decision targets a news publisher’s own archives, not search engines.

“Consequently, in Italy at least, ‘the right to be forgotten’ now has a new meaning: the right to remove inconvenient journalism from archives after two years,” Matthews writes. “This leaves Italian editors vulnerable to arguments that their product has ‘now been published for long enough’ and must be taken down.”

It remains to be seen if the “expiry period” will be applied in the case of other publishers.

WAN-IFRA’s Board has called on courts of law to uphold freedom of expression in the face of “right to be forgotten” claims. WAN-IFRA has also released a report on “right to be forgotten”, and its consequences to news publishers.


Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson


2016-09-22 12:22

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The news publishing industry is experiencing transformation at an ever-growing pace, with new policy issues arising as the landscape changes.

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