underage adopted daughter “M” of the famous German TV presenter Günther Jauch
has to tolerate press coverage about her person, including details of her first
name and age, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof or short:
BGH) held this week (case reference: VI ZR 304/12, so far only the press
release of 5 November 2013 is available here). The girl’s general personality
right had to yield to the publisher’s freedom of the press since these personal
details had already been widely published in the past.
The BGH in its decision acknowledged that the publication of her first name and age affected the girl’s personality right, in particular her right of informational self-determination, under Articles 2(1) and 1(1) German Basic Law in combination with Article 8(1) EHRC. Nonetheless, the girl had to tolerate the inclusion of these details in the article, despite the fact that the media had a special duty of care when considering whether the public interest in this information could not be satisfied without mentioning the name of the claimant. In this particular case, however, the first name, age and family origin of the girl had already been widely published in the years 2006 to 2008 in media reports about her adoption in 2000 and where thus already known and available to the general public via the Internet . As a result, the BGH found that her personality right was significantly less affected as it would have been if these details had previously been completely private.