EGMR: Television broadcast showing non-blurred image of an individual obtained using a hidden camera entailed a violation of his privacy

von Dr. Georg Neureither

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Bremner v. Turkey (application no. 37428/06) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned the broadcasting of a television documentary in which the applicant, Mr Bremner, who was shown promoting his evangelical Christian beliefs, was described as a “foreign pedlar of religion” engaged in covert activities in Turkey. The Court found in particular that the broadcasting of Mr Bremner’s image without blurring it could not be regarded as a contribution to any debate of general interest for society, regardless of the degree of public interest in the question of religious proselytising.

Principal facts

The applicant, Dion Ross Bremner, is an Australian national who was born in 1967 and lives in Strathfield (Australia).

Mr Bremner, who was a correspondent for an Australian newspaper at the relevant time, also worked for a Christian bookshop. On 24 June 1997 he appeared in a television documentary which, according to its presenter, concerned covert activities conducted in Turkey by “foreign pedlars of religion”.

A meeting was filmed using a hidden camera in a restaurant in the presence of Mr Bremner, A.N. and a group of friends of the latter who supposedly wished to learn more about Christianity. A second meeting took place in a flat and was also filmed using a hidden camera. The programme’s presenter then entered the room with a camera and a microphone. She claimed to have heard about the meeting and wanted to join in and interview Mr Bremner about his activities. She asked him why he was promoting his Christian beliefs on a voluntary basis and covertly. Mr Bremner replied that his activity was not covert, but that he had responded to an invitation from A.N ...

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