San Francisco, May 13, 2014 — The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by today’s ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which holds that Internet search engines can be compelled to remove “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” links about an individual, even if the content at the link is true and legally posted.
“The CJEU’s failure to balance the rights of privacy and free expression impedes the practice of journalism and allows for the corruption of history,” said Geoffrey King, CPJ’s Internet Advocacy Coordinator. “By forcing search engines to identify and scrub truthful information from their servers, the court has opened the door to censorship by individuals with an incentive to suppress information. Journalists cannot report facts that have been disappeared.”
The ruling contradicts a finding last year by EU Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen, who found that the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ should be rejected outright due to the free expression impact it would have on both search engines and those conducting research.