Antwerp Judge rules in favour of far-right publisher

A Judge in Antwerp has ruled that Egmont Publishers that publishes books written by politicians from the far-right party Vlaams Belang must be given a stand at the Antwerp Book Fair. If the organiser of the Book Fair fails to abide by the ruling it will be forced to pay a penalty charge of 500,000 euro.

Egmont publishers publishes books by written by members of the far-right party Vlaams Belang. It was set up as politicians from what was then Vlaams Blok encountered difficulty in getting books published by other publishing houses.

Vlaams Belang has been trying for years to get its books a place at the book fair. As Egmont was barred from the Book Fair, Vlaams Belang’s politicians were the only Flemish politicians that were unable to gain access to the annual event.

The organiser of the Book Fair said that Egmont was excluded as it isn’t a member of the General Publishers’ Group. However, the Judge ruled that books from other publishers that are also not members of the General Publishers’ Group are sold at the fair.

The court ruled that banning Egmont Publishers contravened anti-discrimination legislation. The court also ruled that the books written by Vlaams Belang politicians are not merely political pamphlets nor do they incite hatred or violence.

The court ruled that Egmont should be given the same amount of space at the Book Fair as other publishers. Failure to do so will result in the imposition of a 500,000 euro penalty payment.

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