On December 11, 2002, I posted on the High Court of Australia’s ruling in the Internet defamation case Dow Jones and Company v. Gutnick. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that Barron’s (owned by Dow Jones) news bureau editor/reporter Bill Alpert (the author of the article at issue in the case) filed a complaint with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Alpert contends that “that Australian libel law infringes upon [his] rights…as enumerated under Article 19 of the Covenant, which deals with freedom of expression.” The case is of particular interest “because it exemplifies the problems that can occur when information disseminated globally on the Internet comes into conflict with the existing patchwork of local libel laws and judicial jurisdictions.”
For reference, the text of Article 19 states the following:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
See also: Gutnick and beyond.