Johanne Montay harassed on Twitter: RTBF is on the lookout for names

Harassed and threatened with death, the RTBF journalist and her employer want Twitter to reveal the identities of those responsible for this hate campaign.

A victim of the campaign cyber harassment and from death threats after posting a series of tweets related to articles dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic posted on the website RTBFjournalist Johanne Montay and his employer decidedtake legal action before a judge in the chambers of the first instance court in Brussels.

The idea is yes force Twitter to reveal the identities of the people behind the anonymous accounts behind this harassment campaign. It was explained on the RTBF side that it was a zero tolerance policy vis-à-vis attacks on journalists or any person on public service broadcasters in the performance of their duties.

In this type of case of harassment, it is common for the victim to file a criminal complaint with a civil lawsuit, but in that case there is a danger that the procedure will get stuck and, above all, the victim has no control over the procedure. prosecute the perpetrators seek compensation.

“We want to know who is behind these tweets and get compensation.”

audrey adam

Lawyer for RTBF and Johanne Montay

Get compensation

In this particular case, RTBF and Johanne Montay, defending it audrey adam (Englebert), he preferred to address Judge by short procedure in the first instance court of the French-speaking area in Brussels to ask himorder Twitter to reveal identities those responsible for harassment and threats. “We want to know who is behind these tweets and get compensation,” the TV channel’s lawyer and journalist explained.

For Twitter, the Belgian judiciary has no jurisdiction to resolve this dispute.

In his terms and conditionsthe social network provides for the possibility of revealing the identity of Twitter users in case of fraud or violation of someone’s rights if it is reasonably necessary, said the RTBF lawyer, which, we doubt, leaves wide freedom for interpretation.

In Belgiumcontrary to what is being done in France, there is no legal provision does not allow the capture of a judge to force Twitter to reveal the identity of its users. “However, it is legitimate for the victim to be able to exercise their rights properly,” said Audrey Adam, who believes that the victim of cyberbullying should have the choice not to follow the only criminal path.

Tweets have been deleted

Twitter, advocated by Olivier Vanhulst and Julien Hislaire (White & Case), deleted the controversial tweets when they drew his attention. At this stage, the social network does not comment on whether it will announce the identities claimed by RTBF and its journalist.

Since Twitter is headquartered in Ireland, the lawyers of the social network declared that the judge did not have jurisdiction in the councils of the first instance court. For them, Twitter cannot be assigned in all jurisdictions in which the social network operates and the case should be taken to court in Ireland.


  • Disturbed and anonymously threatens death on Twitter, a journalist Johanne Montaywith the support of RTBF, he decidedtake legal action against Twitter.
  • The idea is yes force the social network to communicate identities responsible for this hate campaign.
  • Twitter, headquartered in Ireland, believes it is The Belgian judiciary is not competent to meet the case.

If the court declares jurisdiction, it is considered by Twitter lawyers the requested measure is not temporary, knowing that this interim aspect is one of the conditions of the abbreviated procedure. However, if a judge in the chambers ordered Twitter to reveal the identities of the people behind the tweets, the first-instance judge would no longer be able to overturn the measure, Twitter lawyers said.

Finally, if we come to that, it remains to be decided balance of interest between freedom of expression and an attack on a person’s integrity.

There is no doubt that the decision of the judge in the chambers will be eagerly awaited.

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