A new ruling by the Dutch High Court sets limits on freedom of speech for politicians and has implications for the case against anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders. This writes The Daily Herald.
The Prosecutor’s Office is soon to take a decision on whether or not to press ahead with prosecuting Wilders for inciting hatred after leading a crowd of his Party for Freedom PVV followers in an anti-Moroccan chant earlier this year.
The High Court on Tuesday threw out a lower Court ruling which said an Amsterdam city council candidate was not criminally liable for inciting discrimination and hatred against gay people. Delano Felter, campaign leader for a fringe republican party, said on television that gay people were deviants and that they should be “booted out.” The lower Court had ruled the statements were permissible under freedom of speech laws because they were made by a politician in the “context of a public debate of general importance.” However, the High Court said that while politicians could shock or insult as part of public debate, they also have a responsibility “to prevent spreading pronouncements which conflict with the law and the principles of a democratic state.”
The case against Felter has been referred back to the Appeals Court for a retrial.