Judgment concerning the Republic of Moldova

Human Rights building

In the case of the National Youth Council of Moldova v. the Republic of Moldova the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

The case concerned the local authorities’ refusal to allow the applicant NGO to display anti-discrimination illustrations on advertising panels, on the grounds that they depicted some social groups in an undignified and humiliating manner.

The Court noted that the applicant NGO’s poster was part of an anti-discrimination campaign involving several other NGOs, one of the aims of which was to promote the first freephone discrimination helpline in Moldova. The central issue in the present case was the applicant NGO’s decision to illustrate its poster with cartoons. On that point, the Court reiterated that satire was a form of artistic expression and social commentary which naturally aimed to provoke and agitate, thereby contributing to public debate. The cartoons on the poster had been accompanied by text encouraging the communities concerned to call a freephone helpline if they experienced discrimination. It was obvious for the Court that the intended goal had not been to insult, ridicule or stigmatise those vulnerable population groups or insidiously to promote hate speech and intolerance.

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