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Defamation, privacy and freedom of expression. A socio-legal study of the interplay between the Slovak personality/goodwill protection regime and journalism, 1996- 2016

Belakova, Belakova (2018) Defamation, privacy and freedom of expression. A socio-legal study of the interplay between the Slovak personality/goodwill protection regime and journalism, 1996- 2016. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The maintenance of reputation and privacy and the protection of freedom of expression are vitally important both for individuals and for society in any democracy. The purpose of defamation and privacy regimes is to find an appropriate triangulation of the rights and interests of plaintiffs, defendants and the general public. This is pursued through a system of legal rules, remedies, defences and procedural requirements. Despite the enormous value of reputation, privacy and expression, it is surprising how little is understood regarding whether and the extent to which the law – as understood by the principal protagonists and applied by courts – shapes the motivations of plaintiffs and defendants in order to achieve an appropriate accommodation between the competing interests. This is particularly true in respect of the new Central and Eastern European democracies. This thesis seeks to address these limitations in our knowledge. Taking the example of Slovakia between 1996 and 2016, it provides a systematic, holistic, finegrained, empirical analysis of the interplay between the laws of defamation and privacy and freedom of expression in the context of journalistic speech. The thesis investigates from the viewpoint of the principal protagonists whether, to what extent and how the defamation and privacy regime triangulated the individual and social interests in reputation, privacy and expression. It employs a socio-legal approach and draws on an analysis of statutes, case-law, media reports and fifty-three semi-structured interviews with media managers, professionals, plaintiffs, lawyers and experts. The study examines the extent to which and how the regime provided plaintiffs with instruments to defend their reputation and privacy against unwarranted attacks and remedy the suffered harm; prevented unwarranted harm and protected the public interest in the availability of truthful information by creating a benign ‘chilling effect’ on irresponsible journalism; and prevented powerful individuals and/or entities from abusing the law and producing an invidious chilling effect on important, warranted reporting concerning their activities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Nikola Belakova
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Tambini, Damian
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/4022

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