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Court victory ‘strengthens hand of science’, says research centre

A Berlin-based social science centre has claimed victory in a court case brought against it by the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland party, saying the ruling was a major boost to academic freedom.

The WZB social science centre announced on 11 April that Berlin’s regional court had dismissed a claim filed by the AfD in Thuringia’s state parliament against a research centre over alleged breach of personality rights. The fraction had attempted to force the WZB to abstain from making statements that the party viewed as contravening its “personality rights”, a German legal term that protects organisations and individuals from slander.

The AfD complaint stemmed from a WZB study, published in 2017, which investigated the parliamentary practice of the AfD in German state parliaments. Among other things, the WZB scientists had come to the conclusion that the quality of the Thuringia AfD group’s parliamentary work was the worst of the 10 AfD parliamentary groups that existed nationwide at the time the study was conducted.

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