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ECtHR, Ekin Association v. France, No 39288/98, 2001
  • 2001
  • France
Terrorism propaganda
Legal bases
European Convention on Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
Freedom of Expression Proportionality Security and public order

In 1987 the Ekin association published a book entitled Euskadi at war. It was distributed in many countries including France and Spain. The book supported the Basque cause by giving an account of the historical, cultural and linguistic knowledge of the Basque Country. In 1988, a ministerial order issued by French Ministry of the Interior banned its circulation, distribution and sale in France on the grounds by promoting separatism and violence; it was a threat for public order.

Legal grounds

Article 11 of French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen; French Law of 29 July 1991; Article 10 of the ECHR (or “the Convention”) on the right to freedom of expression.


The Court held that there had been violation of Article 10 of the Convention. In particular, it found that there was nothing in the book’s content suggesting incitement to violence or separatism. Therefore, it held that the interference of the state with the applicant’s freedom of expression had not been proportionally assessed against what is necessary in a democratic society.