General interest and freedom of the press in the European Court of Human Rights’ case law : a comparative study between France and the United Kingdom
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In matter of the Press, the use of the concept of general interest is increasing in the European Court of Human Rights case law. The emergence of new means of communication has led, first, to the advent of information in real time and, second, in a weakening of public figures’ private lives. This thesis attempts to examine the evolution of the notion and function of general interest within the ECtHR case law. In order to properly address this evolution, the ECtHR case law analysis will be employed. Linked to the idea of public good, the notion of general interest differs depending on the matter in which it is used. By the praetorian approach of the judges, the notion has been developed in the light of the current society. Initially used as a valorisation of the freedom of press, the general interest became one of determining criterion in the dispute resolution between the right to private life and freedom of press. Although its function seems undermined by the Court, in practice it seems to predominate. A case-by-case Court’s appreciation has given rise to much criticism by academics. There is a need for more clear criteria for the Court to use the notion of “debate of general interest”. To illustrate and investigate the points made above, the proposed research will examine the judicial dialogue between the ECtHR and the French and United Kingdom courts.