The European Court of Human Rights rendered its decision in the case of Aydoğan and Dara Radyo Televizyon Yayıncılık Anonim Şirketi v. Turkey (application no. 12261/06). The Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned administrative proceedings following an application for a national security clearance certificate for the shareholders and directors of “Aydoğan and Dara Radyo Televizyon Yayıncılık Anonim Şirketi”, a television company whose main purpose was to broadcast programmes in the Kurdish language.

Not having obtained the certificate in question (a prerequisite for obtaining a broadcasting licence), the applicant company was not entitled to broadcast television programmes. The grounds for the dismissal of its request were not notified to the company because of the confidentiality of the investigations.

The Court found in particular that the judicial supervision had not been sufficient because the main reason for the refusal had remained totally unknown to the applicants, thus preventing them once and for all from bringing any effective claims before the administrative courts. As the domestic courts had failed to examine, in the light of any relevant observations the applicants might have had, the veracity of the considerations transmitted to the courts alone by the administrative authorities, they were not able to fulfil their task of weighing up the various interests at stake for the purposes of Article 10 of the Convention, or their obligation to prevent any abuse on the part of the authority where it took a measure restricting freedom of expression.

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