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Recently, the Supreme Court revoked a judgment by the Provincial Court of the Balearic Islands that ordered the television channel Antena 3 to pay €92,000 for psychological damage resulting from broadcasting a report made using a hidden camera.

In the case in question, an investigation program of the well-known television channel informed about the supposed bad practice of a coach that was said to have healing powers, i.e., special gift, that could give sick people false hope.

As is usual in these kinds of disputes, the judge had to deliberate between the right to issue credible information, defended by Antena 3, and the rights to privacy, image and honor, invoked by the coach, in relation to recording his image without his consent and the use by the program’s reporters of expressions such as “fake guru of happiness.”

Contrary to the first-instance court’s ruling, which considered legitimate the channel’s right to freedom of information, the Provincial Court of the Balearic Isles ruled in favor of the plaintiff’s interests, upholding that (i) the comments by the program’s reporters breached the plaintiff’s right to honor, considering that the expressions they used exceeded the threshold of criticism; (ii) the report could have been made without including the image of the coach as an essential part of the news; and (iii) the plaintiff’s privacy was breached by the taking and diffusing of images using a hidden camera.

The Supreme Court revoked this judgment in each of its rulings and once again favors the channel, considering that, without prejudice to a few minor mentions that could be considered damaging to the coach’s right to honor, the information transmitted was credible and of public interest given that the reports in question “were aimed at condemning an activity whose lawfulness is questionable and that could lead to risks […].”

Based on the above, the Supreme Court considers that there is no damage to the plaintiff’s image, privacy or honor rights, especially considering that it had also been proved that the coach recorded the sessions he held with his patients.

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