Case No. 30160/04

Judgment date: 27/9/07

In July 2003 the applicant, a resident of Belgorod, was refused permission from the Ministry for Press, Television and Radio Broadcasting and Mass Communications to register his newspaper entitled ‘Letters to the President’. The grounds of refusal were that the application was “inconsistent with the real state of affairs” because the newspaper purported to cover a broader range of subjects than its title suggested and only the Presidential Administration could consent to the publication of letters to the President or set up a newspaper with such a title.

The District Court upheld the refusal, stating that the title of a newspaper “denotes its specialisation which could be perceived by the readership as an official publication founded by a competent State body…”. The court indicated that this could give rise to the specialist publication being incompatible with the current legislation. The same reasoning was later endorsed by the City Court and the judgment upheld.

The applicant complained that the refusal to register his newspaper under the title ‘Letters to the President’ had violated his right to freedom of expression under Art.10.

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