Poster with PM as toddler was illegal

2nd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch shopping chain Kijkshop has become the latest organisation to fall foul of the law by depicting Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in a satirical light.

2 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — Dutch shopping chain Kijkshop has become the latest organisation to fall foul of the law by depicting Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in a satirical light.

Amsterdam Court ruled on Wednesday that the distribution by Kijkshop of brochures and posters depicting a portrait of Balkenende for its Mother's Day campaign last year was illegal.

The Dutch State lodged legal action on behalf of the Christian Democrat CDA leader to prevent the use of politicians' pictures for commercial purposes, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

Kijkshop depicted Balkenende as a toddler with the name "J-Peetje". An accompanying text said: "Without a salesperson, J-Peetje shops cheaper".

Kijkshop does not employ salespeople to offer advice at its stores. Instead customers order their purchases with a special form at the counter. It is meant to be a cheaper method of shopping.

The court ruled that the poster — which Kijkshop used as a satirical reference to the Cabinet's budget cuts — was denigrating and violated Balkenende's personal privacy.
 
It dismissed the chain store's argument that the posters were legitimated by free speech laws, ruling that the Kijkshop had only wanted to sell more products. The court said there was difference between the advertisement and satirical programmes such as Kopspijkers, which "only sells itself". Balkenende is often portrayed humorously in the public television variety programme.

Balkenende will not be awarded the EUR 186,000 in damages he demanded from the Kijkshop because he did not have such "redeemable popularity". The court said the ruling left the prime minister sufficiently untarnished, but ordered Kijkshop pay court costs of EUR 1,250.

The latest incident comes after Balkenende won a court battle in October last year against the Ex Porn Star company that spread posters around Amsterdam depicting the prime minister having sex. The posters were an advertisement for an Ex Porn Star company, but the court ordered it to remove Balkenende's face from the poster.

And in 2003, an advertising campaign by Azivo sparked the ire of the prime minister. The ziekenfonds public health insurer depicted Balkenende in a singlet and in a reference to the government's budget cuts, the advertisement said "Whoever strips healthcare, stands in his singlet".

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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