15 Dec 2015 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 20 Nov 2015 n° 99/2015 Belgium

Belgian Justice Censors the New Investigative Magazine 'Médor'

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
On 18 November 2015, following a unilateral request from the Belgian pharmaceutical firm, Mithra Pharmaceuticals S.A., a court in Namur issued a interim order forbidding the publication and dissemination of an article published in the first issue of the investigative magazine "Médor". The Belgian francophone Association of Professional Journalists (AJP) immediately denounced the act as censorship: « AJP cannot accept that a judge grant a request which precludes contradictory debate involving fundamental principles such as press freedom and the right of the public to be informed about matters of public interest”. The European Federation of Journalists (FEJ) also denounced the court's interim order, recalling that Belgium already received a warning from the European Court of Human Rights (RTBF vs. Belgium, 29 March 2011), which considered that Article 19 of the Constitution of Belgium only authorises a posteriori the repression of abuses of freedom of expression. Furthermore, the AJP added that the interim order of the Namur Court "prohibits the publication of a thorough investigation of which the content remains unknown to the judge and awarded shockingly high damages. In doing so, it is not only the entire first issue of the magazine which is censored, but also the survival of the project itself that is put in jeopardy should the damages due under the court's decision not be respected".
Resolved
15 Dec 2015: On 1 December 2015, a judge in Namur annulled the publication ban issued on 18 November against the Médor magazine, thus re-authorising the sale of the magazine. On 15 December 2015, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
Updates
14 Dec 2015
On 1 December 2015, a judge in Namur annulled the publication ban issued on 18 November against the Médor magazine, thus re-authorising the sale of the magazine.
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