COBALT successfully represents major Latvian news magazine in legal proceedings

2022 - 09 - 26

COBALT successfully represented the independent news magazine “Ir” in legal proceedings related to an investigative report on insolvency procedures by journalist Indra Sprance.

In 2017 a judge brought a defamation claim against the magazine “Ir” and the journalist regarding a series of articles that highlighted issues with the handling of insolvency cases in Latvian courts.

On 15 September 2022 the Supreme Court (the Senate) delivered a judgment (Case No SKC-13/2022) that upholds the Zemgale Regional Court judgment of 4 February 2020, which dismissed the claim in its entirety. The Senate’s judgment is final and is not subject to appeal.

The case concerned the balancing of two fundamental rights – freedom of speech and respect for private life. Thus, the Senate had to examine whether the appeal court had correctly assessed the limits of the claimant’s permissible criticism as a judge.

The Senate held that the judgment under the appeal had examined each article separately and the series of articles as a whole, as well as individual sentences and means of expression, concluding that neither the articles, nor individual parts of them, contained defamatory information or expressed an excessively defamatory opinion of the claimant.

Representation of the magazine “Ir” and journalist Indra Sprance before all court instances was ensured by Senior Associate Linda Bīriņa.

Magazine “Ir” is an independent, quality weekly news magazine published in Riga, Latvia. It was founded by some of Latvia’s leading journalists in 2010. “Ir” combines high-impact investigative journalism with some of Latvia’s best cultural coverage and feature writing. It has won numerous awards both for its journalism and for its innovative approach to connecting with its readers.

Official statement issued by the Senate (available only in Latvian).

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