Court Dismisses AfD Thuringia’s Claim against the WZB

WZB President Jutta Allmendinger: “Hand of science has been strengthened."

On April 9, 2019, the Berlin Landgericht (Regional Court) dismissed a claim filed by the AfD fraction in the Thuringian state parliament against the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. The AfD fraction had attempted to force the WZB to abstain from making statements that the party viewed as contravening personality rights. The statements stemmed from a WZB study investigating the “Parliamentary Practice of the AfD in German State Parliaments.” The court reasoned that the study was a piece of academic research and thus could not infringe upon the fraction’s personality rights in any way.

WZB President, Prof. Jutta Allmendinger, commented on the court’s decision:

“The AfD’s first ever attempt to take legal action against the work of a scientific institution has failed. The study brought before the court analyzed the work of the AfD in state parliaments over a period of time between the summer of 2014 and the spring of 2017. It represents an important contribution to scientific and social debates about political actors, and has been recognized as such by the academic community. Academic freedom is an essential condition for research of this kind to be carried out and published. The Berlin Landgericht has dismissed the AfD fraction’s claim. Moreover, the court’s statements during the hearing on April 9 made it clear that the study in no way represents an infringement of the AfD Thuringia fraction’s personality rights. The court was firm in its judgement that, contrary to the view of the AfD, the study is a piece of academic research and as such falls under the right to academic freedom and freedom of speech. That is why the results of the study can continue to be published in their original form. Having the backing of this court judgement has strengthened the hand of science.”

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