The Constitutional Court declared in its decision that photographs showing police actions shall be published without preliminary permission of the concerned police officers if the publishing is not self-serving, so it is about contemporary events or news based on the circumstances of the case, or it is public information about the exercise of executive power which is of public interest. The Constitutional Court annulled the concerned judgement as it violated the freedom of press (Article IX para (2) of the Fundamental Law).

The Index.hu online news portal in its constitutional complaint initiated the examination of the judgement of Budapest-Capital Regional Court of Appeal, as it declared that the website violated the law by publishing photographs about police officers in action without their preliminary permission.

The Constitutional Court pointed out that the provisions of the Civil Code which are the exceptions to the main rule of publishing photographs only with previous permission, shall be interpreted in accordance with the exercise of freedom of press in each case. Photographs taken in public places – if the photo depicts the subject in an objective and not harmful manner ‒  can be published without the permission of the concerned person when it is a part of a report that keeps track of public interest.

The Constitutional Court declared that photographs showing police actions shall be published without the permission of the concerned police officers if the publishing is not self-serving, so it is about contemporary events or news based on the circumstances of the case, or it is public information about the exercise of executive power which is of public interest. Deployment of the police in any demonstration is considered to be a contemporary event, thus the images about this event shall be published without any permission unless it violates the human dignity of the police officer (for instance by showing the suffering of an injured police officer).

Having regard the fact that the challenged judgement did not take into account constitutional viewpoints – connected to the freedom of press and freedom of information − during the interpretation of the concerned provisions of the Civil Code, the Constitutional Court deemed unconstitutional and annulled the judgement of the Budapest-Capital Regional Court of Appeal.

Dr. István Balsai, Dr. Egon Dienes-Oehm and Dr. Béla Pokol judges attached dissenting opinion to the decision.