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The Sunday Times' Story

The Sunday Times was investigating thalidomide, which was medication prescribed to pregnant mothers that caused many children to be born with disabilities. The newspaper wanted to publish an article on how it was introduced into the UK and the proposed settlement of the claims against its manufacturers brought by children affected by the drug.

The UK Government got an injunction to stop publication of the article on the grounds it would be in 'contempt of court'. The Sunday Times argued violated the right to freedom of expression. The Court agreed and said the public interest in the article was more important than being in 'contempt of court' (i.e. maintaining the authority of the judiciary). Freedom of expression protects the right of the public to receive information and be informed, as well as the freedom of the press to inform. 

(Sunday Times v UK 1979)

Key information


Rights this relates to: 
Article 10: Right to freedom of expression

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