Ver nota 3
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 10 OF THE CONVENTION
16. The applicant complained, under Article 10 of the Convention, that the intelligence agency of Serbia had denied it access to certain information concerning electronic surveillance, despite a final and binding decision of the Information Commissioner in its favour. Article 10 reads as follows:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent states from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary
The Government argued that the application was out of time, taking into account the dates of the decisions of the Information Commissioner and the Supreme Court of Serbia in the applicant’s case. They further submitted that Article 10 did not guarantee a general right of access to information and that the application was, as a result, incompatible ratione materiae. Lastly, they claimed that the application was incompatible ratione personae as the applicant did not need the information sought.
The applicant disagreed.
With regard to the first objection, the Court notes that the applicant did not complain about the decisions to which the Government referred, as they were in its favour. On the contrary, it complained about a refusal of the intelligence agency of Serbia to provide it with certain information despite those decisions. Given that the applicant filed its application with the Court while the impugned situation was ongoing, this objection must be rejected.
With regard to the second and third objections, the Court recalls that the notion of «freedom to receive information» embraces a right of...