Revelations about the side effects of the various COVID vaccines have surfaced in mainstream media recently, confirming the worries of many skeptics that the mRNA ‘vaccines’ aren’t as harmless as many scientists and politicians promoted them to be. One of Germany’s chief promoters of the vaccination campaign, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, referred to them as “free of side effects” on Twitter in August 2021, and then again in February 2022 as “more or less free of side effects” while a guest on the talk show Anne Will.
In response, the vaccination skeptic lawyer Markus Haintz decided to take him to court, accusing Lauterbach of spreading fake news. But the court ruled that Lauterbach’s statements are covered by free speech.
The court in Ellwangen decided that “in public discussions of topics relevant to a broader public, and in view of the prevalent sensory overload these days, strong wordings that stick are permitted, even if they contain sharp and denigrating criticism and are presented with polemical hyperbole.” The decision makes it quite clear that the court does not consider the health minister’s statements scientific statements—even though his medical background was often cited to validate his opinion—but as political opinion:
Contrary to the plaintiffs’ view, the challenged statement is an expression of opinion that falls within the scope of protection of Article 5 (1) sentence 1 of the German Basic Law and must be measured against the standards for political opinion campaigns set out above.
This decision is remarkable given the fact that vaccination skeptics had been defamed and taken to court on countless occasions over the past two years. Lauterbach himself had accused vaccination skeptics of spreading dangerous fake news and many people had been fined by German courts for supposedly “spreading fake news” and “hate speech” surrounding COVID.
In the meanwhile, Lauterbach has revised his opinion from last February. In a video series of the German federal government, Lauterbach admitted that side effects do exist and warned against “post-vaccination syndrome.”
KarlText – Impfnebenwirkungen und Post-Vac-Syndrom
The court’s ruling has thus not only confirmed the old adage of quod licet iovi, non licet bovi (what is allowed to Jupiter, isn’t allowed to the ox), but also emphasized the fact that supposedly scientific statements by politicians are ultimately nothing but “contributions to political opinion campaigns.” The expenses of the court are covered by lawyer Markus Haintz.
Apart from a few regional newspapers celebrating the result, German media has ignored the court’s ruling.