Freedom of speech – The right to privacy and the freedom of speech: where is the limit?

Freedom of speech – The right to privacy and the freedom of speech: where is the limit?

By Abril Neiman.

On June 13, 2022, the National Chamber of Civil Appeals made a judgement in the case “C., A. v. E., A. O.” (object of the claim: damages), file No. 13119/2021/CA3, where the decision made by the judge in the first instance was confirmed. Said decision had rejected the request made by the plaintiff.

The claimant (a woman) sued E., A. P, stating that in the TV show Basta Baby of May 11th, 2020, the defendant had insulted her for publishing a video in her own social networks. She had also received, because of this video, offensive messages which negatively affected her.

She concluded that all this affected her not only as a woman but in her performance at work and in her public and political activities as well.

Therefore, the plaintiff based her petitions on Law 26.485, called Comprehensive protection to prevent, sanction and eradicate violence against women, where they develop their relationships. She specifically requested the precautionary measures of Section 26, Subsection a.7.

However, the Chamber of Appeal considered that while the defendant did speak contemptuously about C., A., he did not attack her or discriminate her based on gender nor sex.

In relation to the precautionary measure, the Chamber of Appeal dismissed it, given the fact that it would have meant a limitation to the right to freedom of speech.

The sentence made it clear that there is no place for censorship in the case since the claimant is an adult, and there was not any evidence of vulnerability here. On the contrary, she introduced herself as an “influencer” and stated that it was her willingness to show herself in the video. She was aware of her exposure, and even asserted that she wanted to have an effective interpellation with the audience.

We will quote some words of the decision which show a sort of balance between the right to privacy and freedom of speech:

“However, it should be made clear -as the Supreme Court of Justice affirmed- that the exercise of the right to express ideas or opinions cannot be extended in detriment of other constitutional rights, among which are the moral integrity and honor of the individuals (Sections 14 and 33 of the National Constitution)”.

In brief, the National Chamber of Civil Appeals rejected her petitions, including the above-mentioned precautionary measure, considering that, according to her sayings, she began to be threatened as a consequence of the release of her own video, not due to the T.V. show. Furthermore, as she identified herself as an “influencer”, obviously she was used to public opinion.

Clearly, the freedom of speech cannot be affected by prior censorship, and the right to privacy must be measured in accordance with the circumstances of each case.

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