Conviction for administrator of Facebook page of ‘Vlaamse Verdedigings Liga’

5 July 2017
Area of action: Internet
Grounds of discrimination: RacismReligious or philosophical beliefs

The administrator of the Facebook page of the Vlaamse Verdedigings Liga [Flemish Defence League] has received a ten months’ suspended sentence. According to the Antwerp court he incited his followers to racism. Unia was a civil party.

The Facebook page and administrator had already been known to Unia since 2013. We received at least 85 reports on various cases involving incitement of race hatred, mainly against the Muslim community.

Unia stresses the importance of the ruling of the Antwerp court. It does not often happen that this sort of circumstance leads to a trial, let alone that a conviction follows. Because many members of the public were indignant, it did happen this time. They revealed that the Facebook group posted certain articles in order to spread racist messages. Unia welcomes the action of the Public Prosecutor of Antwerp. This conviction is a serious warning for surfers who repeatedly spread and foster cyberhate.

Unia points out that any member of the public who sees this sort of messages can react to defend society. In addition, you can ask the page administrator or moderator to delete the message. Finally, any member of the public can also report hate messages to Unia.      

In 2016 Unia opened 276 files on incitement of hatred. While in 2015 these hate messages specifically targeted refugees, in 2016 posts linked to terrorism were often involved. In these, Muslims are often equated with terrorists

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