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Freedom of expression does not cover labeling the bullfighter Víctor Barrio as a “murderer”, according to the Constitutional Court.

Publication: Monday, May 17, 2021 2:47 PM

The first chamber of the Constitutional Court (TC) dismissed the amparo appeal lodged by the former municipal councilor of Catarroja (Valencia), Datxu Peris, against the conviction which ordered her to pay compensation of 7,000 euros for violation of the right to honor of the bullfighter Víctor Barrio.

Peris defined Barrio in his social networks as a “murderer” (of bulls), in a post launched a few hours after the bullfighter’s death. In view of this, the judgment, of which Judge Santiago Martínez-Vares was the speaker, emphasizes that, in view of the circumstances of the case, the expressions used by the appellant in amparo “prove to be unnecessary, disproportionate and absent. any anchoring in the exercise of the right to freedom of expression ”.

Instead, they argue that in order to “publicly defend” their anti-corrida positions “it was not necessary to portray Victor Barrio as a murderer or an oppressor”; also, noting that the counselor reflected “relief” in his death.

“Even less by accompanying the text with a photograph showing the torero seriously injured, when he was gored, with obvious signs of pain, and by making this publication a few hours after his death following this incursion on the square . of Teruel bulls, causing with it an additional pain to that which their relatives had ”, adds the magistrate.

In his post, Peris argued that it was necessary “to see the positive side of the news so as not to suffer too much”, and wrote: “He has already stopped killing”.

The torero’s family sued the advisor for illegitimate interference with the right to honor, privacy and the image of the deceased. The Single Court of First Instance and Investigation of Sepúlveda declared that the content of the published message constituted an illegitimate interference with the right to honor of the torero Víctor Barrio. The sentence argued that social networks are not “a subterfuge where everything goes and everything goes”, without freedom of expression being able to protect the insult.

This decision was appealed to the Provincial Court of Segovia, which upheld the judgment of the court of first instance. “ The profession to which Mr. Barrio was dedicated is, today, legal and, therefore, it is not possible to address offensive expressions to those who exercise it for this sole reason, the expression ‘ murderer ‘being clearly humiliating to address a bullfighter, for the simple fact of being one, although his activity is not shared,’ he concluded.

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