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

Mission

Czech Republic: MFRR pushes for reforms to strengthen independence of public broadcaster

Representatives from IPI and ECPMF travelled to Prague on 15 June to meet with officials from the Ministry of Culture and push for the development of reforms which strengthen the independence of the country’s public broadcaster.

READ MORE
Feature

Spain: Fine against photographer underscores urgent need for reform of Gag Law

Partners of the MFRR today express serious concern over the recent €1,000 fine issued to Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Javier Bauluz under Spain’s controversial “Gag Law”.

READ MORE
Jobs

Kauffrau/Kaufmann für Büromanagement (w/m/d) – Teilzeit (20Stunden/Woche)

READ MORE
General

“You can’t write anything without considering the war, because the war changed everything” – Interview with Ukrainian journalist Maria Grynevych

Maria Grynevych is a Ukrainian journalist and Chief Editor of the news agency Socportal. She has been displaced since the start of the war in Ukraine. Maria is currently participating in ECPMF’s Journalist-in-Residence programme in Leipzig.

READ MORE
General

Vice President of the European Commission Věra Jourová visits ECPMF

On 01 June, Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission visited the ECPMF office as part of a visit to Leipzig to discuss media freedom, pluralism, and the safety of journalists; in particular in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine.

READ MORE
Press release

Feindbild Journalist 6 – Hatred on the Doorstep

ECPMF, as part of the MFRR, has published the English translation of the 2021 iteration of “Feindbild”, an annual study into politically-motivated violence against journalists in Germany.

READ MORE