Volkskrant is allowed to write about the cross-border behavior of a former D66 member

de Volkskrant You’re still free to write whatever you like about the transnational behavior of former D66 politician Frans van Dremelen. The previous restrictions imposed by the judge on the newspaper are unfounded. This was decided by the multi-chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal in the appeal of the summary proceedings brought by van Dremelen against the newspaper.

Van Drimmelen and the D66 got into trouble after that de Volkskrant On Saturday, April 16, it revealed that the former campaign manager stalked another employee of D66 for several months in 2015 and 2016 after she ended a secret relationship with him. It turns out that the ruling party protected him, especially by withholding his guilt report from the matter. After the curtain was unveiled, Van Dremelin still had to make way. The D66 passed through the dust at a special conference on Sunday.

Few hours before posting de Volkskrant, in summary proceedings behind closed doors, the Amsterdam first aid judge decided that the newspaper could not charge Van Dremelen “abuse of power” or “sexual harassment”, and could not say that a confidential report on the matter contradicted a preliminary public report in which Van Dremelen acquitted himself. . Moreover, the newspaper was not allowed to quote correspondence between Van Dremelen and his former lover, which was included in the confidential report.

Safe for those who are not safe

On appeal, de Volkskrant wanted this ruling to be overturned as this would amount to a preventive censorship that would seriously damage the freedom of the press. During the hearing, attorney Jens van den Brink said: “It seems that the judge thought he was ‘definitely wrong’ and imposed a ban on all kinds of terms for absolutely no reason. This is the world upside down. A judge may only ban the newspaper in advance in exceptional circumstances. I can’t Emphasis enough how bad this is for a free society.”

On the other hand, Frans van Dremelen wanted to toughen the previous sentence. In this appeal, he demanded that the newspaper also stop using the terms #MeToo, offensive behavior and “such behavior” in future articles about him. He should have booked articles on the subject from the internet, and the newspaper should publish a correction. These allegations have been rejected.

In press cases like these, a judge has to balance two basic rights: the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. In other words: between the public interest in spreading abuse and the personal interest of the data subject. In this case, the social interest (disclosure of a government party cover-up) does have weight, according to a lawyer de Volkskrant It is clearly more important than Van Drimmelen’s interest in keeping his private life out of the public eye. It is not yet clear exactly how the judge weighed these basic rights. Wednesday’s ruling is the so-called back ruling, and the motive behind the decision will follow at a later time.

“Otherwise, things will go wrong.”

However, the majority of the hearing, which took place in Amsterdam on Monday, was not about press freedom and privacy, but about whether van Dremelen had misbehaved. de Volkskrant He wanted to prove by this that there was indeed an abuse of power and sexual intimidation, which the newspaper had previously forbidden to write. According to the newspaper, Van Dremelen wanted to have a conversation with his former lover. The lawyer quoted private correspondence: “Otherwise things will go horribly.” Van Dremelen threatened “by unconventional means”. It will be “full of revenge”. Van Dremelen would threaten that he would tell the husband of his former lover about their secret affair. According to Van den Brink, he also threatened to send “intimate photos”. Lawyer’s conclusion: “Chasing someone who does not want to continue the relationship is already a form of sexual harassment, especially with the threat from Van Drimmelen.”

However, Jurian van Groenendaal, Van Dremelen’s attorney, stated that there was no issue of stalking, threats or sexual intimidation: “There is nothing wrong.” According to him, the former lover suddenly ended the relationship and Van Dremelen wanted to find out the reason for their separation. That’s why he called her. The lawyer doubts he’s been stalking for months. It will be a “handful of phone calls” over the course of 16 days. It was after a call to leave her alone. “Of course there are emotions. Some of the messages were also unpleasant.” “We had plans with each other, we were going to live together, and I found that difficult,” the attorney quoted Van Dremelen.

The court issued a so-called “final judgment”. The motive for the decision will follow in a few days. This ruling will then be published.

Van Dremelen himself spoke briefly at the end: “An incredible amount of damage has been done… disproportionate… truly unbelievable.”

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