Bribery accusation prompts Belgian mayor to file slander complaint
Tuesday, 03 December 2019
The Saint-Lambert Church in the municipality of Berloz, where the mayor filed the slander and defamation complaint. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The mayor of Berloz lodged a slander and defamation complaint after a Facebook comment implied that bribery had been involved in determining the results of an architecture competition in the municipality.
The Facebook comment surfaced after a prize was awarded to a new communal building. The comment was “aggressive”, according to L’Avenir.
“The comment said that if the prize had been won by the building, it was because the commune had taken bribes or bribery [had been involved]… which was obviously not the case,” mayor of Berloz Béatrice Moureau, told RTBF.
“Of course, freedom of expression is important, and everyone has the right to love or not to love the building, there is no problem with that,” Moureau said, adding that on the other hand to imply bribery had taken place was “totally defamatory” and “shows a complete lack of respect.”
The comment stayed online for several days after Moureau lodged the complaint. It has since been deleted.
The complaint is directed both at the person who wrote the comment, as well as against the administrators of the Facebook group on which the comment surfaced.