How are the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press protected by the GDPR?

The GDPR contains certain provisions that balance the right to privacy with the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The most important one is Article 85, in which work for “journalistic purposes or the purpose of academic, artistic or literary expression” is exempt from certain data processing obligations. Article 17.3a provides an exemption from “the right to be forgotten”, if processing of personal data is necessary for the exercise of the right of freedom of expression and information.

It is important to note that:

  • The GDPR gives the individual Member States flexibility on how they can interpret Article 85 and strike a balance between data protection and freedom of expression in their national legislations. Given that the scope of Article 85 may be subject to various interpretations, you should consult domestic laws for individual cases.
  • Article 85 does not diminish other GDPR data protection responsibilities. For example, media will not be exempt from the requirement of having appropriate security measures in place to prevent data breaches.

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