German Journalists Worry ‘Big Brother Law’ Will Kill Press Freedom

A new law working its way toward passage in Germany has journalists worried. Certain provisions, they say, could eliminate the ability for reporters to protect their sources. Still, the measure is likely to go into effect early next year.It has been called the “Big Brother” law in the German media due to its provisions allowing online and telephone surveillance. The Interior Ministry in Berlin describes it as a necessary step to protect the country from the dangers of international terrorism.But journalists in Germany see the bill — currently in the parliament’s arbitration committee after having failed to get through the country’s upper legislative chamber, the Bundesrat, in November — in a different light. They are concerned the law would make it much easier for investigators to spy on reporters without their knowledge, giving the state access to both their computer files and their sources. That, they say, represents an unacceptable attack on freedom of the press in Germany. Publishers, journalists and media lawyers are up in arms.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,596807,00.html

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