Broadcasting a report on the program The morning of RTVE, on March 8, 2017, in which a woman protested and gave details of the noises that came from the home of her neighbor upstairs, involved an intrusion into her privacy and honor. This has been determined by the Provincial Court of Salamanca, which has imposed an indemnity of 10,000 euros to be paid jointly by the author of the complaints together with the RTVE corporation, to the injured party (access the sentence here).
In the piece broadcast on the public channel, which barely lasted 10 minutes, it was stated that a girl from Salamanca had been fined for exceeding the allowed decibels. Given this information, the journalist commented with the neighbor who had denounced said “annoying activities”, that the curious thing about the case is that the noise came from the woman’s bed. “The night-time activity of the neighbor caused things to fall off the shelf,” declared the protagonist of the video, who then gave details on private aspects of her, according to her, noisy neighbor. Among other things, he said that he could not sleep because of his “fieryness” and pointed out as the cause of the cracks in his home “the wiggles that hit those above.”
In addition, details of expressions they had heard from upstairs were given, to the point that, given the tone of the questions and answers, they had to be reminded that they were on children’s hours. The journalist even asked about the eventuality of the possible practice of prostitution in the aforementioned address of the neighbor.
Given this story, the Provincial Court of Salamanca has deduced that what has been said has no public relevance or general interest at all. As explained in the judgment, it is a matter of neighborhood relations, therefore, unless proven otherwise, it can only be relevant to specific neighbors. “This room is not enough to see how the noise in a neighbor’s house, or in one of its rooms in particular, such as the bedroom, can constitute a matter of public relevance or of general interest,” the magistrates have stated. Nor is the news projected on any person who holds a public office or a profession of public notoriety, but on a private and private person.
The court has highlighted in its resolution that the report gives many clues that may lead to reveal the identity of the “noisy” neighbor to whom they refer, at least for those who know her. Indeed, in the piece she is described as a girl, which implies that she is young. The neighborhood, the name of the street, the portal and even the door of your home are displayed, with perfect identification of the apartment and the letter in which you live. Other residents of the portal and the owners and employees of the neighboring premises are also interviewed. All of this contributes to aggravating the intrusion into the privacy and honor of the woman referred to in the news.
In this sense, the Audience has appreciated that the purpose of said report could not be informative, but rather take advantage of the “morbid” that the allusion to the causes of these noises could have, in reference to the “promiscuous and fiery” sexual life of said neighbor. So they have clarified that even though that note of “morbid” has an appeal to the public, it does not make it news.
In such a way that, given the lack of public relevance or general interest of the matter, it is a news item that tells facts about a person’s private life, about the noises that it produces in their home, and specifically, in their bedroom. . And for this reason, it is decided in the sentence that the protection and reparation of the interference in the right to their privacy and their honor should prevail over the freedom to give that information.