ECPMF and VVJ highly concerned about abusive litigation targeting EU Observer and its reporter Andrew Rettman

ECPMF

10 December 2021

No Comments

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten (Flemish Association of Journalists, VVJ) are highly concerned about the lawsuit filed by Dana Holdings against EU Observer and journalist Andrew Rettman.

 

The litigation, filed before the tribunal of first instance in Brussels, pertains to an article published in EU Observer on 14 October 2020 titled “Lukaskenko-linked firms active in EU member Cyprus”. According to Dana Holdings, a real estate company with presumed connections to the family of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the article contains several libellous statements that, it is claimed, falsely create the impression that the firm benefited from financial perks due to its links with Lilya Lukashenko, the daughter-in-law of Belarus’ autocratic leader. Dana Holdings is demanding damages of 2.500 euros for every day the story is kept online, plus legal costs.

 

Having analysed the impugned article, in our view, it is beyond question that it constitutes reporting that is evidently in the public interest, researched, written and published in line with high deontological standards. On the other hand, the lawsuit appears designed not to establish a legitimate claim in the court of law but rather to bully the outlet and its journalist into silence and to suppress critical, independent journalism. This impression is reinforced further by the fact that four related letters were delivered to Rettman’s home address, adding an additional element of intimidation, considering how the Lukashenko regime has previously targeted its opponents with violence in other EU Member States and the United Kingdom. 

 

In light of the above considerations, we urge Dana Holdings to withdraw its abusive claim.

Signed by:

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten (VVJ)

Read news by categories:

Related news

Statement

ECPMF welcomes European Parliament adoption of the Anti-SLAPP Directive

Today, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom welcomes the Anti-SLAPP Directive – also known as Daphne’s Law – adopted today by the European Parliament in its first reading.

READ MORE
Support

Two years of war: Support for journalists in Ukraine

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has shaken Europe and beyond. The war has led to a humanitarian catastrophe for people on the ground, and also included numerous deliberate attacks on journalists in an attempt to silence their vital reporting.

READ MORE
General

2 years on, Ukrainian journalists still pay a heavy price for the war

February 24 marks two years since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine which greatly endangered Ukrainian journalists.

READ MORE
General

Slovakia: Lack of justice for Kuciak and Kušnírová’s assassination exacerbated by growing attacks on press freedom

On the sixth anniversary of the brutal killing of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, we renew our call for long-awaited justice for their killings and the imperative to break the cycle of impunity.

READ MORE
Statement

Serbia: Court of Appeals acquits suspects of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija’s murder

The Media Freedom Rapid Response partners strongly denounce the Court’s decision and ultimately the lack of justice rendered for the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija.

READ MORE
General

Greece: Rule of Law Threatened

The European Commission should take immediate action to address the deterioration of media freedom and the rule of law in Greece and its impact on fundamental rights, ECPMF and 16 other human rights and press freedom organisations said today in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

READ MORE