Blasphemy and the European Court of Human Rights

One area of fundamental rights that is riddled with ‘conflicting interests’ is that of free expression. Within the context of religion, for example, criticism of religion may be in conflict with religious believers’ interests of not being insulted in their deeply held beliefs, or the state’s interest in preserving societal peace. The ECtHR has upheld a number of convictions by national courts over blasphemous expression. The Court has found certain blasphemy convictions by national authorities compatible with article 10 of the ECHR. The latest of such convictions was upheld in October 2018 in the case of E.S. v. Austria. This paper will critically examine the Court’s approach to blasphemy.