Cheraw Chronicle

Complete News World

“Conner Russo knew the judicial gag order was unconstitutional.”

“Conner Russo knew the judicial gag order was unconstitutional.”

Conner Rousseau (Foruit) has to pay around €8,000 in legal costs now after the Ghent Court of Appeal lifted a judicial ban on the publication of information from the official report against Rousseau following potentially racist remarks. Destroyed. In specific terms, it is about an article latest news And broadcast VTM.

As a reminder: In September last year, it became clear that Vooruit's then-president, Conner Russo, may have made racist, violent and sexist remarks at café 't Hemelrijk in Sint-Niklaas.

When he was a journalist from DPG Media, a publishing house, among others latest newsAfter learning of the official report that evening on September 28, he personally asked Russo to respond via text message. The Socialist did not respond and immediately went to the summary proceedings judge in Dendermond to impose a publication ban. He criticized, among other things, the media publishing the contents of the report without the police listening to it. The judge heard this and imposed the ban. When DPG later filed a third-party objection, a second judge affirmed the ban. “But the Court of Appeal has now rejected this reasoning in a convincing way,” says constitutional specialist Jogchom Vrielinck (UCLouvain Saint Louis/KU Leuven).

On what basis does the Court of Appeal do this?

Gogchom Freelink: in the first place the Constitution. It states that censorship can “never” be imposed. Our constitutional freedoms – such as freedom of religion, association, and expression – must not be preventively restricted. If abuses are found to have occurred, you can punish them with repressive measures, i.e. afterwards.

Constitutional freedoms must not be preventively restricted.

Doesn't the Court of First Instance in Dendermond know the Constitution?

Freelink: As for the first statement, I understand it. They don't have much to do with these kinds of things. Moreover, there is a time pressure on such summary procedures, and people can make mistakes. Even more questionable is the so-called third-party dissent decision, in which the first judge's error was not corrected. That was very unfortunate. Knowing that, we have often seen that the judiciary begins to shift.

What do you mean?

Freelink: Especially when it comes to audiovisual media, there have been cases in the past where the judge was more inclined to impose a preventive ban. This has also decreased since the case brought by the French-language public broadcaster before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in 2011. In this case, a preventive distribution ban was imposed on RTBF and the ECtHR ruled that there was no legal basis for this in Belgium. But in the summary proceedings judge's decision in the Russo case, the RTBF ruling was circumvented.

Why do you think the Court of Appeal argued its ruling correctly?

Freelink: The Court's starting point is the Constitution, but it also explains why – even if there was a legal basis – a pre-emptive ban would still not be permissible, given the details of this specific case. Conner Russo is a public figure, and his PV has already been reported. Furthermore, Russo had publicly stated that he remembered nothing about that evening, so his position became known. Moreover, the incident did not happen strictly in private, but in the public domain, and there were witnesses. In addition, the Court emphasizes that the statements also have special social significance. Ultimately, it is about alleged racist statements made by the head of a left-wing party that attaches great importance to the fight against racism.

Perhaps it was a form of panicked football on Rousseau's part.

Didn't Russo create the so-called Barbra Streisand effect? Stopping the article, everyone became very curious about its contents.

Freelink: Publishing would certainly have made a big difference anyway. More important are the potential consequences of banning the perception of Rousseau. I saw a headline in a newspaper that said, “Conner Russo shouldn't ban article.” Of course, it was the judge who did that, not Rousseau himself, but he was the one who took the initiative. This is permissible, but his position in this case is questionable. Moreover, he is a lawyer by training, and knew that his gag order was unconstitutional. This remains bizarre behavior on Rousseau's part, and perhaps a form of football panic.

See also  De Crow fears a new imbalance