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Open letter
published by , on 07/09/2008

Dear reader,

Recently, consulting company Areopa demanded in summary proceedings the removal of critical blogs and online articles that I wrote but (luckily) came away empty-handed. However, this coming 12 September, I have to appear before the judiciary regarding a penalty claim by Areopa (from 2003) for amongst others slander and breach of the confidentiality of mail, with a claim for damages of 2.5 million Euros.

The importance of the legal procedures by Areopa and its manager Ludo Pyis against me reaches beyond this particular case. They are a threat to the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech in general, and especially critical investigating journalism.

Or, as an opinion leader, who already signed the petition/call for action on www.MarcErnst.com/pressfreedom said: ‘The freedom of the press is increasingly being challenged. This is a negative development.’

Of course incorrect information must be rectified – truly incorrect information, not alleged wrong information. However, Areopa confused (and still confuses) wrong with unwelcome information, and does not hesitate to convince the undersigned through deception and deceit of the incorrectness of certain data. Closer investigation on my behalf does show that the claimed/alleged incorrect information is actually correct (refer to pages 12 – 16 of the summarised conclusions of my lawyer, master of law Jos VanderVelpen; also the president of the League for Human Rights). Based on the misleading ‘evidence’ of Areopa, during a hearing before the council for journalism, I did somewhat prematurely and completely mistakenly admit that my articles on Areopa/Pyis ‘contain some small and larger errors’.

May I, seen the importance of this case (and more specifically the hearing of 12 September) for the future of the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech in Belgium, hope that you will add your name to the ‘petition about the freedom of the press and freedom of speech’ ?

You can undersign the petition/call for action on www.MarcErnst.com/pressfreedom.

I thank you for your willingness and solidarity.

With kind regards,

Marc Ernst

(entrepreneur, publicist/blogger)

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