Delfi AS v. Estonia

Delfi AS v. Estonia (2015) ECtHR 64669/09 is a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case where the grand chamber, by 15-2 majority, ruled that holding Estonian news site Delfi liable for anonymous defamatory comments posted online from its readers, even when they are removed upon request, was not a violation of the Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights' guarantees of the freedom of speech.[1]

Delfi AS v. Estonia
Full case nameDelfi AS v. Estonia
ChamberGrand Chamber
Freedom of expression, intermediary liability

The ruling was unexpected, because of potential conflicts with the "actual knowledge" standard of Article 14 of the EU's E-Commerce Directive.[2] It also raises anxieties as to the extent freedom of expression on the internet has been compromised. The ruling does not yet have direct legal effect, but it may be influential in the development of national and European Union law.[3]

Delfi AS was represented by attorneys-at-law Karmen Turk and Villu Otsmann from pan-Baltic law firm TRINITI and the government of Estonia by Maris Kuurberg.

The case was followed shortly by Magyar Tartalomszolgáltatók Egyesülete and Zrt v. Hungary, which reached a different conclusion based on slightly different facts.[4]

See also


  1. Newman, Liz Hay. "EU Court Unexpectedly Rules Estonian Website Is Responsible for User Comments". Slate.
  2. "Not so different after all? Reconciling Delfi vs. Estonia with EU rules on intermediary liability". Media Policy Project Blog. London School of Economics and Political Science. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  3. Moody, Glyn. "Shock European court decision: Websites are liable for users' comments". Ars Technica.
  4. Bodrogi, Bea (2016-02-19). "The European Court of Human Rights rules again on liability for third party comments". Media Policy Project Blog. London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 2016-08-24.

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