AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

                      Application No. 28614/95
                      by Ronald WARING, Juanita WARING
                      and José Bernardo do CANTO E CASTRO
                      against Portugal

     The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
9 April 1996, the following members being present:

           MM.   S. TRECHSEL, President
                 H. DANELIUS
                 E. BUSUTTIL
                 G. JÖRUNDSSON
                 A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                 A. WEITZEL
                 J.-C. SOYER
                 H.G. SCHERMERS
           Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
           Mr.   F. MARTINEZ
           Mrs.  J. LIDDY
           MM.   L. LOUCAIDES
                 J.-C. GEUS
                 M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
                 B. MARXER
                 M.A. NOWICKI
                 I. CABRAL BARRETO
                 B. CONFORTI
                 N. BRATZA
                 I. BÉKÉS
                 J. MUCHA
                 E. KONSTANTINOV
                 D. SVÁBY
                 G. RESS
                 A. PERENIC
                 P. LORENZEN
                 K. HERNDL

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

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

     Having regard to the application introduced on 12 September 1995
by Ronald WARING, Juanita WARING and José Bernardo de CANTO E CASTRO
against Portugal and registered on 21 September 1995 under file No.
28614/95;

     Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules
of Procedure of the Commission;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

     The first applicant is an Irish citizen born in 1918.  The second
and third applicants are the first applicant's daughter, a British
citizen born in 1944, and her husband, a Portuguese citizen born in
1942.

     All applicants reside at present in London.

     The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be
summarised as follows.

     The particular circumstances of the case

     On 20 July 1995, the television station "TVI - Televisão
Independente" broadcast at about 20.00 hours and as a part of its
evening news a special programme called "Camarate : in search of the
truth".  The programme concerned the events which had taken place at
Camarate, a village close to the Lisbon airport, on 4 December 1980.
On that day a former Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr. Francisco Sá
Carneiro, had died, amongst other persons, in a plane crash.

     In the course of this programme, interviews were made with
Mr. J.M. and Mr. S.C. and a letter of Mr. F.S. was shown and read out
by a reporter.  In the statements made, it was alleged that the
applicants had been involved in an assassination plot which had the aim
to blow up with a bomb the airplane used by Mr. Sá Carneiro and Mr.
Adelino Amaro da Costa, then Minister of Defence.  The whole plot had
allegedly been carried out by the third applicant and the material used
for the making of the bomb, namely an explosive device, had allegedly
been brought from London to Portugal by the second applicant and
procured by the first applicant.  It was also said that the latter had
at the time been a senior officer of the British secret service.

     Subsequently, this information was widely diffused by "TVI"
itself and by other media in Portugal and abroad.

     On 4 December 1995, day of the fifteenth anniversary of Mr. Sá
Carneiro's death, another programme was broadcast by "TVI" as a part
of its evening news.  In the course of this programme, some excerpts
of the film "Camarate : in search of the truth" were shown again.  The
TV reporter concluded with a list of possible suspects of the bombing
including the second and third applicants.  References were also made
to criminal proceedings which had been brought by the relatives of the
crash victims.

     Criminal proceedings concerning the plane crash are currently
pending.  The Public Prosecutor's Department (Ministério Público)
decided not to bring charges while the relatives of the crash victims
did bring a private prosecution against several persons, including the
second and third applicants.

     Relevant domestic law

     Under the Press Act (Lei de Imprensa) of 1975 (Decree law no. 85-
C/75 of 28 February 1975), which is applicable to the television by
virtue of Sections 41 and 54 of the Television Act (Law no. 58/90 of
7 September 1990), press publishers and/or editors could be held
criminally responsible for offences committed in the press (abuso de
liberdade de imprensa), even in case of statements made by third
persons (Article 26 of the Decree law no. 85-C/75).  Section 24 of this
Act also provides for civil liability.

     On 25 May 1995, the Parliament adopted Law no. 15/95 which
amended the Press Act of 1975.  Section 26 of this Act now provides
that press publishers and editors can no longer be held criminally
responsible for statements made by persons being interviewed, if no
doubt arises as to the identity of the author of the statements.

     Section 24 of the Press Act concerning civil liability has not
been amended.

     Section 35 of the Television Act, which has not been amended,
provides for the right of reply afforded to whoever considers himself
the victim of an unlawful attack on his honour and good reputation.

     On 14 March 1996, the Parliament adopted Law no. 8/96 which
revoked Law no. 15/95. However, Article 26 of the Press Act as amended
by this law remains in force.

COMPLAINTS

     The applicants complain of the fact that Portuguese law does not
provide them with the possibility to instigate a criminal prosecution
against the persons responsible for the broadcasting of defamatory and
untrue statements contrary to their good reputation and honour.

     The applicants claim that this amounts to a violation of their
right to respect for their private life as ensured by Article 8 of the
Convention.

THE LAW

     The applicants allege a violation of Article 8 (Art. 8) of the
Convention in that the broadcasting of statements contrary to their
good reputation and honour involved interferences with their private
life which could not be remedied under Portuguese law.

     Article 8 (Art. 8) provides as follows :

     "1.   Everyone has the right to respect for his private and
     family life, his home and his correspondence.

     2.    There shall be no interference by a public authority with
     the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with
     the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests
     of national security, public safety or the economic well-being
     of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the
     protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the
     rights and freedoms of others."

     The applicants contend that the impossibility of bringing
criminal proceedings against the television station "TVI" is in breach
of this provision in that they are thereby prevented from obtaining
protection against defamation and attacks on their honour and good
reputation.  They consider civil liability insufficient and inadequate
to redress their complaints, because civil proceedings would be too
long and expensive and without the deterrent effect generally needed
in this kind of cases.

     The Commission first notes that the events which gave rise to the
present application pertain to the sphere of private life within the
meaning of Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention (cf. No. 10871/84, Dec.
10.7.86, D.R. 48 p. 154).

     The Commission next note that there is no question in the present
case of any direct involvement by the respondent Government in the
broadcasting of the relevant statements.  Nevertheless, it recalls that
the obligation imposed by Article 1 (Art. 1) of the Convention to
secure the effective enjoyment of Convention rights may involve
positive obligations on a State and that these obligations may involve
the adoption of measures even in the sphere of relations between
individuals (cf. Eur. Court H.R., X. and Y. v. the Netherlands judgment
of 26 March 1985, Series A no. 91, p. 11, paras. 22 and 23).

     In this respect, the Commission recalls the previous case-law of
the Convention organs according to which the way in which a High
Contracting Party may meet such obligations is largely within its
discretion (cf. Eur. Court H.R., Abdulaziz, Cabales and Balkandali
judgment of 28 May 1985, Series A no. 94, p. 33, para. 67 and further
references contained there).

     Furthermore, it appears to the Commission that in the present
case account also must be taken of the rights guaranteed by Article 10
(Art. 10) of the Convention, which ensures freedom of expression.  A
fair balance between rights that can be contradictory must therefore
be achieved.

     In this connection, the Commission recalls that there are
different ways  of ensuring "respect for private life", and the nature
of the State's obligation will depend on the particular aspect of
private life that is at issue (cf. above-mentioned X. and Y. v. the
Netherlands judgment, p. 12, para. 24).  Recourse to the criminal law
is therefore not necessarily the only answer.

     As regards the protection of the right to enjoy a good
reputation, the Commission recalls its previous case-law according to
which this right must be considered to be a civil right within the
meaning of Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention, and
considers that the protection of honour and good reputation can
therefore be generally achieved by way of civil proceedings (cf. No.
808/60, Isop v. Austria, Dec. 8.3.62, Yearbook 5, pp. 108 et seq. ; No.
7116/75, Dec. 4.10.76, D.R. 7 p. 91).

     In the present case, the Commission observes that Portugal has
chosen to amend the Press Act in such a way that press publishers and
editors will no longer be held criminally responsible for statements
made by third persons in the course of an interview.  The Commission
notes that this amendment has been adopted inter alia with the purpose
of giving larger protection to the right to freedom of expression,
guaranteed by Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention.

     Concerning the means given to the applicants by Portuguese law
to seek rehabilitation of their honour, the Commission first notes that
they can institute criminal proceedings against the persons having made
the relevant statements.

     On the other hand, the Commission notes that it is possible for
the applicants to bring civil proceedings for compensation against the
television station.  It recalls that Article 24 of the Press Act
concerning civil liability has not been amended.  The applicants' right
to respect for their private life is not therefore wholly unprotected.
They have the possibility of filing with the Portuguese courts an
action for damages for pecuniary and/or non-pecuniary damages and can
ask the court to declare that an unlawful attack on their good
reputation and honour has occurred.  In this respect, the Commission
considers that the applicants have failed to explain for what reasons
this remedy would be unsuitable to protect their rights under Article
8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.  The cost and the length of these
proceedings cannot constitute such reasons.

     What is more, the applicants had the possibility of availing
themselves of the right of reply provided by Article 35 of the
Television Act, which they have not done.

     Summing up, having regard to the aspects of the private sphere
which were at stake in the present case, the Commission finds that the
protection afforded by Portuguese law is sufficient to protect the
applicants' rights under Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.

     It follows that there is no appearance of a violation of this
provision.  The application is therefore manifestly ill-founded within
the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, unanimously,

     DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.

Secretary to the Commission            President of the Commission

       (H.C. KRÜGER)                         (S. TRECHSEL)