The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
16 October 1986, the following members being present:

                      MM. C. A. NØRGAARD, President
                          J. A. FROWEIN
                          E. BUSUTTIL
                          G. JÖRUNDSSON
                          G. TENEKIDES
                          S. TRECHSEL
                          B. KIERNAN
                          A. S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                          A. WEITZEL
                          J. C. SOYER
                          H. G. SCHERMERS
                          H. DANELIUS
                          G. BATLINER
                          H. VANDENBERGHE
                      Mrs G. H. THUNE
                      Sir Basil HALL
                      Mr. F. MARTINEZ

                      Mr. H. C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Article 25 (Art. 25) of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the application introduced on 29 June 1984 by K.
V.N. against Sweden and registered on 1 February 1985 under
file No. 11366/85;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Comission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:


The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be
summarised as follows:

The applicant is a Swedish citizen, born in 1932.  He is a teacher of
languages and resides at Skottorp, Sweden.  Before the Commission he
is represented by his lawyer, Mr. Einar Höier Harksen of Gothenburg.

In 1981 the applicant was the owner of a business called "Persiska
Salongen" which dealt with the purchase and sale of handmade carpets.
In a local daily newspaper a number of articles appeared in October
1981 in which it was allegedly insinuated that the applicant was a
swindler, having sold fake carpets and musical instruments and that
the affair concerned millions of Swedish crowns.

Owing to the publication of these articles the applicant instituted
legal proceedings against the editor of the newspaper.  In his summons
to the District Court of Halmstad (Halmstads tingsrätt) the applicant
argued that the defendants should be held legally responsible for
serious slander within the meaning of Chapter 5 Section 2 of the Penal
Code (brottsbalken) and Chapter 7 Section 4 para. 9 of the Freedom of
the Press Act (tryckfrihetsförordningen).

In its judgment of 1 June 1983, however, the District Court sitting
with a jury found that the published articles did not contain elements
which could amount to a violation of the above Acts and the
applicant's claims for legal liability and damages were accordingly

The applicant appealed against the judgment to the Court of Appeal for
Western Sweden (Hovrätten för Västra Sverige) maintaining his
arguments submitted to the District Court.  In its judgment of 14
December 1983 the Court of Appeal partly dismissed the case since,
according to Chapter 12, Section 2 para. 2 of the Freedom of the Press
Act, the jury's verdict was final and could not be reconsidered in the
Court of Appeal.  Furthermore, the Court of Appeal found that no
procedural errors had been committed and thus upheld the District
Court's judgment insofar as it was competent to do so.

The applicant subsequently applied to the Supreme Court (Högsta
Domstolen) for leave to appeal against the judgment of the Court of
Appeal.  He relied on his arguments before the lower instances and
further argued that the Supreme Court should consider the matter
despite Chapter 12, Section 2 para. 2 of the Freedom of the Press Act.
Before the Supreme Court the applicant also maintained that the
judgments of the lower instances had violated his human rights.

On 13 February 1984 the Supreme Court refused to grant leave to


The applicant has not invoked any Articles of the Convention but
submits that due to the decision of the Swedish courts he has been
denied redress in regard to the slanderous and untrue accusations
against him published in the newspaper in question.  Therefore the
Swedish courts have failed to protect his right to respect for his
private and family life.


The applicant has complained that the Swedish courts, by their
decisions in the present case, failed to protect his right to respect
for his private and family life.

The Commission notes that the articles concerned were published by a
newspaper outside the control of the Swedish authorities and that the
respondent State therefore has no responsibility for the contents of
these articles.

Nevertheless, as the European Court of Human Rights has held in the
case of Ireland v. the United Kingdom (Eur. Court H. R. judgment of
18 January 1978, Series A No. 25, para 239), the Convention does not
merely oblige the authorities of the Contracting States to respect for
their own part the rights and freedoms embodied in it, but it also
requires them to secure the enjoyment of these rights and freedoms by
preventing and remedying any breach thereof (cf. the words "shall
secure" in Article 1 (Art. 1) of the Convention).  The obligation to
secure the effective exercise of the Convention rights may therefore
involve positive obligations on a State in a number of areas, and
these obligations may involve the adoption of measures even in the
sphere of the relations of individuals between themselves.

An obligation of this kind exists, for instance, in regard to the
right to respect for private and family life guaranteed by
Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention (see Eur. Court H.R., X and Y v.
the Netherlands, judgment of 26 March 1985, Series A No. 91,
para. 23).  However, where a question arises of interference with
private life through publication in mass media, the State must find a
proper balance between the two Convention rights involved, namely the
right to respect for private life guaranteed by Article 8 (Art. 8) and
the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 (Art. 10)
of the Convention.

The Commission notes that the newspaper articles criticised by the
applicant dealt with a criminal investigation regarding large-scale
fraud and swindle committed through the sale of false carpets and
musical instruments.  Consequently, they concerned a matter of some
public interest, and the applicant's name was not mentioned in the
articles.  The Commission considers that they affected the applicant's
honour and points out that a person's honour is protected in Swedish
law by provisions on defamation in the Penal Code and in the Freedom
of the Press Act.  On the basis of these provisions, the applicant
brought defamation proceedings before a court sitting with a jury
which in the present case found that there was no breach of the
provisions of the Penal Code and the Freedom of the Press Act.

The fact that the applicant was not successful in bringing proceedings
against the editor of the newspaper does not mean that the respondent
State has failed in its obligation to provide adequate protection for
his rights under Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention. As stated
above, it is necessary in a case of this kind to strike a balance
between the rights protected under Articles 8 and 10 (Art. 8, art. 10)
of the Convention, and the Commission finds no indication that, in
striking this balance, the court gave inadequate consideration to the
applicant's rights under Article 8 (Art. 8).

The Commission finds, therefore, that the application is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of
the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission


Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission

(H. C. KRÜGER)                      (C. A. NØRGAARD)