Considerations Regarding the Observance of the Presumption of Innocence in the Media

AuthorSandra Gradinaru
PositionAl. I. Cuza Universitaty of Iasi
Considerations Regarding the Observance of the
Presumption of Innocence in the Media
“Al. I. Cuza” Universitaty of Iasi
Key words: the presumption of innocence, the right o f privacy, of an intimate and a family life, the freedom
of speech, officials, the deontological code of the journalist Abstract: In the context of the Rule of Law, a
modern governing guarantees to anyone the presumption of innocence un til is delivered an unappealable
criminal d ecision. Nevertheless, in almost all the cases, the media, by virtue of freedom of speech, brings
prejudices to the dignity, the honor and image of the officials, investigated in criminal cases, havin g as a
unique argument the fact that a media campaign, searching t he sensational, does nothing else than
reproducing hostile manifestations - public servant - thus influencing th e public opinion. They affect the
principle o f presumption of innocence, inducing unfortunate effects above the default of justice. Thus, the
media takes the information from prosecutors that operate within the courts, shading them by the depreciating
allegations addressed to the pu blic persons as defendants in criminal cases, creating to the public opinion a
distorted image of reality, before the justice has passed through a final criminal decision on guilt or their
The presumption of innocence has been established for the first time as the rule of law in the
18th century legislation in the U.S. and then in the Declaration of the human rights and of the
citizen, since 1789, adopted by the French National Assembly. [Mateut, Gh, 2007, p. 155]
The European Convention of Human Rights in Strasbourg, issued as an expression of common
will of European states to ensure compliance with the principles set forth in the Universal
Declaration of the Human Rights, contains a similar provision, including in art. 6, paragraph 2
that "any person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until the guilt will be legally
In accordance with the European Convention and the ECHR decision of February 10, 1995,
regarding the case Allenet of Ribemont against France, it is recognized that the presumption of
innocence does not prevent the authorities to inform the public about criminal investigations in
progress, but claims that it should be done with all discretion and all reserves which requires the
respect of this principle.
As a consequence, this EU principle that we hereby have talked about, requires compliance with
rules such as the observance of the presumption of innocence in the impartation to the media and
ban of the judicial bodies to disclose their opinions or beliefs about the facts reproached to the
Regarding the application of the European standards concerning this principle in our country, the
analysis made by the experts of the Organization “So Just”, of the Monitoring Association Press
of 20.02.2008 and of the PRO Institute in August 2005, indicates that "although the presumption
of innocence forms a basic principle of the fair trial, it is often violated in Romania”. The
obligation to comply with the requirements of the presumption of innocence lies with both the
judicial and other officials, including politicians and the press. Thus, the conclusions of these
studies are:
- in Romania, the principle is only legislatively established;

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