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German TV host loses fight over wedding article in European court

The European Court of Human Rights has dismissed a complaint from German TV presenter Günther Jauch and his wife over an unwanted media report on their wedding. The two sought thousands in damages from a German magazine.

German TV presenter Günther Jauch and his wife Dorothea Sihler-Jauch lost a longstanding dispute over a magazine article about their 2006 wedding in European Court on Thursday.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg rejected the defendants' complaints against previous German court decisions, calling their arguments "manifestly ill-founded."

The case before the ECHR relied on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the "right to respect for private and family life." Jauch and his wife complained that their privacy had not been protected by the German courts.

The couple's case also referred to Article 1 which covers the protection of property. The defendants claimed that they were not paid a notional license fee for the report which was published about their wedding.

In 2006, the couple married in Potsdam at a ceremony and reception attended by 180 guests, including the mayor of Berlin. The couple's lawyer informed the press ahead of time that the couple did not wish for reports to be published with details of the wedding.

However, the German magazine "Bunte" published an article after the wedding complete with photos, quotes from the wedding toasts, details about Sihler-Jauch's wedding dress and a picture of the bride prior to the ceremony.

Jauch and his wife went to court in Hamburg and requested 75,000 euros ($83,800) in damages as well as 250,000 euros ($279,000) as a notional license fee. Courts in Germany awarded the couple a fraction of the damages, but said the celebrity status of the couple meant the public had a legitimate interest in the wedding.

The ECHR said the German courts "had carefully balanced the applicants' right to respect for their private life with the magazine's right to freedom of expression."

rs/msh (AFP, dpa)

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