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January 27, 2023

High Court of Justice: Facebook is public, not private space

A personal Facebook profile represents public, not private space, according to a High Court of Justice (ICCJ) decision that rejected as baseless an appeal filed by a former Mures County Prefecture director against a fine received from the National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) because of something he posted on his personal Facebook page.

The Targu Mures Court of Appeals had decided in January 2013 that a Facebook page is public, not private space. It all started from the fact that in early 2012, during the protests against the Boc Government, Mircea Munteanu Nicolae, former office director of the Prefect of Targu Mures, posted on his Facebook page the following message: “Arbeit macht frei – this is what the protesters should understand.”

The National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) issued a RON 1,000 fine against him because “his action represents nationalist propaganda that hurts human dignity and creates a degrading, humiliating and offensive atmosphere directed against the group of protesters.”

Munteanu attacked the fine in court, considering it illegal on account of several reasons, among them the fact that his Facebook page is private, not public space. The Mures Court rejected the former director’s appeal, the director filing another appeal at the ICCJ. The ICCJ’s decision is irrevocable.


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