Untrue articles led German press to pay record-breaking high damages

On Thursday the 30th of July 2009, an Appelate Court in Germany ordered the German publishing firm Sonnenverlag, to pay 400 000 euro to H.R.H. Princess Madeleine as damages.

It is the highest amount awarded in Germany up to now for this kind of violation.

The background is that German press has published a great number of untrue and disparaging articles about famous people, H.R.H. Princess Madeleine being one of them. Retouched pictures or photomontages, on placards and front pages, contributed to attract  attention to the articles.

The court proceedings were proceeded by endeavours by the Royal Court to have the publisher concerned voluntarily cease the violations. When that was unsuccessful the Royal Court saw no alternative than to sue for damages.

The judgement to pay damages concerns articles published up to December 2003. The judgement may be subject to appeal.

H.R.H. Princess Madeleine plans to give the proceeds finally awarded to charity.