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False statement on Facebook can be banned in court

The Press Chamber of the Frankfurt Am Main Regional Court has ruled that it should not be given the impression that the Bundestag member Renate Künast, Alliance 90/The Greens, has said: “Komma, if there is no violence at play, sex with children is quite ok. Is good now”. This quote is wrong.

Renate Künast was a member of the Berlin House of Representatives in 1986. During a speech by another Member of Parliament during a debate on violence against children in families, Mrs Künast made a heckling on an intermediate question from a CDU member. He had asked the other MP how she felt about a motion by the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia to lift the threat of punishment for sexual acts against children. According to the minutes of the debate, Renate Künast’s heckling was: “Come on, if there is no violence in play.”

In March 2019, the defendant of yesterday’s decision posted on Facebook a post with a picture of Renate Künast. The text was also added: “Comma, if there is no violence in the game, sex with children is quite ok. Is good now”. Many comments with disparaging content were made under this post.

Following an urgent application by Renate Künast, the Landgericht Frankfurt am Main issued an order on 15 May 2019. In that statement, the defendant was prohibited from giving the impression, by means of that Facebook entry, that Ms MdB Künast had made the statement quoted therein. The defendant appealed against that decision. With yesterday’s judgment, the Press Chamber of the Regional Court upheld its decision of 15 May 2019, thereby rejecting the defendant’s opposition.

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In support of its reasoning, the board stated that the quotation was a false statement of fact. The average viewer understands the statement in the overall context, as if she had explained it, as if she had explained the statement shown next to The portrait of Mrs Künast. However, that impression given by the defendant was incorrect, since Ms Künast did not in fact say ‘… sex with children is quite ok. It’s good now.” The underpoffing of this false quotation infringes Ms Künast’s right to personality.

In addition, the defendant re-energised Renate Künast’s heckling made at the time before the Berlin Chamber of Deputies outside the context. The impression given to the average reader is that it is still a recent statement by Mrs Künast. However, the defendant did not disclose that the heckling in the political debate was more than 30 years ago.

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Written by Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel specializes in the areas of competition law, copyright law and IT/IP law and specializes in computer games, sports, marketing and streamers/influencers. He supports start-ups in their development, assists them with all legal problems and supports them in business development.

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