Kralendijk- Harald Linkels has won a court case against the Amigoe newspaper, in which the paper was ordered to rectify incorrect and damaging statements about Linkels.
The dispute between Linkels and the Amigoe started after the Amigoe reported that the Executive Council in Bonaire had requested a proposal of Linkels & Partners to provide temporary support to the Communications department of the Public Entity Bonaire.
Based on this request, the Amigoe asserted that Linkels had been ‘bribed’ to write positive articles about the Executive Council and that this had been ‘ongoing for years’.
Linkels’ lawyer Arndt Van Hoof from SBA Avocaten, during the hearing of the case on November 5, 2019, argued that no distinction was made by the Amigoe between Linkels as consultant on the one hand and Linkels as a free-lance contributor to various websites on the other hand. Van Hoof also argued that Linkels, nor any of his companies, had ever received a single cent from any executive council for either media-support or the writing of articles.
Judge P.E. De Kort, hearing the case, wrote in his verdict that while the Amigoe had the full right to question certain practices on the island when it came to the media, they had failed to present any concrete proof of the allegations made against Linkels.
De Kort in his verdict therefor ordered the Amigoe to rectify the allegations made against Linkels, by placing the following text on the front page of the newspaper:
“The Amigoe has published articles on September 17, 18 and 19, 2019 in which was stated that Mr. Harald Linkels, for years, had been paid by the Executive Council of Bonaire to publish articles suggested to him by the Executive Council, on news websites like www.bonaire.nu.
The Amigoe also asserted that Linkels has admitted to this.
Linkels has however strongly denied these claims.
The Court of First Instance has ruled by injunction of 13 November 2019 that there is not enough factual basis for those allegations. Amigoe is sentenced to rectify by order of this injunction.”
The Amigoe complied with the court order by publishing the rectification in their edition of yesterday, November 13, 2019.
Linkels said in a reaction that he was glad with the injunction, and now considered the case as closed. “People and media houses, including the Amigoe, do indeed have the full right to question things. I personally have no problem with this. However, I will most certainly not accept that things are written about me, my companies or my employees which are incorrect -or worse- blatant lies”.