11 January 2014


In Gonzalo Miró v Gestevisión Telecinco SA the Spanish Constitutional Court has held that speculation during a 2005 broadcast about the paternity of television presenter Romero Gonzalo Miró violated his right to privacy.

The broadcast by Gestevisión Telecinco claimed that Gonzalo Miró had 'a big secret', with his mother Pilar Miró having taken the undisclosed identity of his father "to the grave". As I have noted in past posts, it is desirable to differentiate between public interest and public curiosity; reports about the judgment do not seem to indicate that there was a compelling public interest in knowing who was Gonzalo Miró's dad if mother and son did not want to share the information with the crowd. One of the broadcasts reportedly indicated that the father's initials, mentioned the name of a man with those initials and feature photographs of that man with Gonzalo Miró.

Litigation by Gonzalo Miró in his own name and in the name of his late mother regarding an injury to his right to privacy was dismissed by the Court of First Instance in June 2006. His appeal was successful, with an award in his favour of €300,000. The broadcaster appealed to the Supreme Court, which dismissed Gonzalo Miró's claim in June 2010 on the basis that there had been no violation of privacy because the programs involved speculation.

Gonzalo Miró appealed to the Constitutional Court, which in November last year found in his favour, holding that parentage is part of an individual's private life and that the right to privacy “implies the existence of an area which is reserved against the action and knowledge of others”, with a duty to refrain from unjustified interference. Reports indicate that the Constitutional Court rejected the speculation argument, holding that
The right to privacy may be affected not only by the specific and truthful statement about the identity of the father of appellant, but by mere speculation or rumors about his parentage. 
Interestingly, the Court appears to have recognised a post-mortem of the right to privacy, reflecting application by Gonzalo Miró in the name of his deceased mother and his own name.

The Court  noted a tension in arguments by the broadcaster:  claiming to reveal a "big secret" but denying that privacy had been violated. It also noted that although an intimate detail may become well known without that person's consent it may still be protected by the right to privacy. Denial of that protection would burden the individual with litigation  to avoid passivity being construed as a waiver of privacy.