No restrictions on the freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Critical and investigative journalism should remain possible.
Consulting company Areopa demands in summary proceedings the removal of critical blogs and online articles but comes away empty-handed.
Penalty claim for amongst others slander and breach of the confidentiality of mail, with claim for damages of 2.5 million Euros, goes before court on 12 September.
Consulting company Areopa and its manager Ludo Pyis summon Marc Ernst in summary proceedings (before the judiciary in Ghent). They demand the removal of all articles and documents on HRMblogs.net that relate to them, and more specifically the removal of the so-called ‘Areopa files’ (on www.HRMblogs.net/Areopa). In addition, they are claiming damages of 10,000 Euros per day for as long as this has not been done.
In its verdict of 11 July 2008, the court declared itself incompetent with regards to the claims of Areopa/Pyis and rejected its arguments for being unfounded, beside the point and/or redundant.
The undersigned are pleased with this decision of the court because it recognises the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. The court rightly states that Areopa/Pyis has sufficient ways at its disposal to force Ernst to rectify the situation if it can be proven that incorrect information has been published.
In July 2003, Areopa/Pyis filed a civil action complaint at the office of the public prosecutor against Marc Ernst, at the time the publisher and editor-in-chief of hrm.net (a website with information on personnel management). The complaint was about a number of articles on Areopa/Pyis that were published on his website and in his e-magazine since June 2001, and that are currently on HRMblogs.net. (From March 2006 to September 2007, Marc Ernst published articles on personnel management on his personal blog site HRMblogs.net. Since then, he does so on the group blog HRMblogs.com, an initiative by BizInfo).
Areopa/Pyis regard the articles on HRMblogs.net that are about them as a breach of the confidentiality of mail and an infringement of privacy, slander and defamation of character, stalking, an infringement on honest business practices, and spreading incorrect information.
In addition, Areopa/Pyis demand compensation of damages of 2.5 million Euros from Marc Ernst.
On this coming 12 September, the penalty claim will be heard by the judiciary of the court of first instance in Brussels.
With regards to the charge, in this dossier, the public prosecutor/the counsel for the prosecution demands (rightly) ‘ dismissal’.
The undersigned hope for a decision by the judiciary that is conforming to the claim of the public prosecutor/the counsel for the prosecution. In other words, that this dossier is not referred to the court. Such a ruling is desirable and necessary for the freedom of the press, in order to (continue to) guarantee critical journalism.
For more information:
(claim for dismissal by the public prosecutor/the counsel for the
Supporters of this petition
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