“Right to be forgotten” extends to newspaper archives


A court has ruled that people have the right to be expunged from newspaper archives as well as internet search engines

“Rewriting history”

The “right to be forgotten”, which allows members of the public to have references to their private life removed from internet searches, also extends to newspaper archives, the Cassation Court has ruled.

The court was ruling on an appeal by Rossel, publishers of Le Soir newspaper. They had been sued by a member of the public who had been involved in a traffic accident in the past and who demanded that all reference to the matter be expunged from the paper’s archives.

He won his case in the lower court, and Rossel appealed and lost. The last-resort appeal to the Cassation Court also failed, as the court ruled that the right to be digitally forgotten formed part of the constitutionally guaranteed right to be left in peace in one’s private life. That is a justification for infringing on the newspaper’s right to freedom of expression.

By basing its arguments on an interpretation of the Belgian constitution, the court avoids reference to the European law that extends the right to be forgotten to the whole EU. The Rossel group said it regretted the ruling, which it said “opens the door to the rewriting of history”.

Photo: Ingimage