Right to Honor in current legislation
Concept of Honor
The Royal Academy of Language defines the word honor as “a moral quality that leads to the fulfillment of one’s duties towards one’s neighbor and oneself.” In legal terms, we call the right to honor the defense that every person possesses to prevent third parties from making statements of discredit that could affect their good name, or to prevent others from accessing the person’s intimate space without your consent.
There is no definition of honor in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 nor in the Organic Law that regulates its protection. However, honor is a concept inherent to the dignity of the person, as a subject of law, constituting its very essence and determining its content.
Although there are no definitions of the concept of honor, of the multiple Sentences of the Constitutional Court we highlight nº 139/1995 , which includes the doctrine established by said Constitutional Court on its concept and common denominator of its defense:
“Despite the impossibility of elaborating an incontrovertible and permanent concept on the right to honor, this has not prevented, using the Dictionary of the Royal Academy Spanish, associating the concept of honor with a good reputation (a concept used by the Rome Agreement), which – like fame and even honor – consist of the opinion that people have of a person, good or bad. positive if they are not accompanied by any adjective. Just as this obverse of the notion is taken for granted in the norms, these, on the other hand, try to apprehend the reverse, the dishonor, the dishonor or defamation, the defamatory. The common denominator of all the attacks and illegitimate interferences in the scope of protection of this right is the demerit in the consideration of others (art. 7.7 L.O. 1/1982) as a consequence of expressions made in discredit or contempt of someone or that were held in the public opinion as abusive”
Freedom of expression, information and criticism
It is evident that the right to honor can collide with other fundamental rights and, mainly, with those related to freedom of expression , information and criticism.
For this, it is necessary to start from the provisions of article 20 CE, which recognizes and protects the following rights:
“a) To freely express and disseminate thoughts, ideas and opinions by word, writing or any means of reproduction.
b) To freely communicate or receive truthful information by any means of dissemination.”
However, like the rest of the fundamental rights, its exercise requires a prior limitation, included in article 20.4 CE itself, in respect of the rights recognized in the Constitution itself and the laws that develop it, especially regarding the right to honor, privacy and one’s own image.
The same limit is expressly included in the Organic Law 1/1982, of May 5, in its Statement of Reasons, emphasizing that the rights to honor, personal and family privacy and own image constitute a limit to freedom of expression:
“According to article 18.1 of the Constitution, the rights to honor, personal and family privacy and self-image, have the rank of fundamental and to such an extent are highlighted in the constitutional text that article 20.4 provides that respect for such rights constitutes a limit to the exercise of freedom of expression that the precept itself recognizes and protects with the same fundamental character.”< /em>
Applicable regulations on Right to Honor
Within Section 1 of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 (hereinafter, CE) , referring to Fundamental Rights and Public Liberties, the right to honor, personal and family privacy and one’s own image is accepted, with absolute character and, therefore, binding for all public powers, and its exercise must be regulated by Law
Article 18.1 CE guarantees this right in the following terms: “The right to honor, personal and family privacy and self-image is guaranteed”
The protection of said rights is found in article 53.1 CE, guaranteeing their protection by Organic Law, in accordance with article 81.1 CE. As a development of both precepts, on May 5, 1982, Organic Law 1/1982 on Civil Protection of the Right to Honor, Personal and Family Privacy and Self-Image was approved, which regulates the scope of legal protection in the civil sphere.
Article 1 of the aforementioned law establishes that the right to honor, personal and family privacy and one’s own image “shall be civilly protected against all kinds of intrusions illegitimate, in accordance with the provisions of this Organic Law.”
What behaviors violate the Right to Honor?
Article 7 of Law 1/1982 on the protection of honor lists the interferences that must be considered illegitimate regarding the protection of honor, privacy and one’s own image:
- Record the intimate life of people using audio or video recording devices.
- Use listening devices or any other type of device to find out about the intimate life of people, their manifestations or correspondence.
- The disclosure of the private life of people that affects their reputation and good name, or the disclosure of confidential information due to its intimate nature, such as the content of personal correspondence or personal writings.
- Publication of intimate information of the person who was known by the offender through his professional or official activity.
- Record, photograph or publish audiovisual content of the image of people in private places. We must note that article 8.2 of the same regulation establishes some exceptions to this section, among which are included:
– Images of notorious people or public officials obtained at public events.
– Publication of cartoons.
– Information of public interest that includes images of the person in a merely accessory way.
- Use of the image, name or voice of a person for advertising or similar purposes.
- Injuring the dignity or reputation of another person by disseminating statements or imputing facts.
- The person convicted by the criminal courts may not use the crime for which he was convicted to achieve enrichment or public notoriety. Neither is the publication of false information about the facts considered a crime allowed, when it affects the dignity of the victims.