Dutch newspaper to appeal compensation for using man's photo without permission

Volkskrant building in Amsterdam, 2009 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Janericloebe)Volkskrant building in Amsterdam, 2009 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Janericloebe)

A Dutch court ordered newspaper De Volkskrant to pay Mohammed Rashid 1,500 euros in compensation. Rashid filed a lawsuit against the Volkskrant after his photo appeared on the newspaper's front page without his permission. The Volkskrant is appealing against the ruling, NU.nl reports.

Rashid's photo appeared on the Volkskrant front page on August 16th. The photo clearly showed his face as his car was checked by an officer of the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a police force that works as a branch of the Dutch military and is responsible for airport safety. The heading above the photo read (translated from Dutch) "Is Schiphol still safe?"

The Muslim man felt that the newspaper deliberately put a Muslim man on the front page because the article was about Islamic terrorism. He demanded rectification and damages of 15 thousand euros.

The court ruled that the Volkskrant infringed on Rashid's right to privacy and ordered the newspaper to pay 1,500 euros in compensation. Rectification is unnecessary, the judge decided. The newspaper disagrees with the ruling and will appeal, editor Philippe Remarque said on television show Pauw on Wednesday. "We want a second opinion from another judge because our freedom of expression is more important", he said.

Shortly after the photo appeared, Remarque stated that the newspaper was trying to convey the reality - that only drivers with a "Muslim like appearance" were stopped. The editor is sticking to that. "We are shocked by this ruling", he said on Wednesday. "If personal injry is considered proven so easily on the basis of possible associations at home and abroad, the work of editors, photographers and cameramen is a lot tougher. We believe that freedom of information is at stake."