Proceedings against journalists in Germany must stop, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative

[news release] The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, called on Germany to cease criminal proceedings against the 17 journalists who published allegedly classified information.The documents are related to the work of the German parliamentary committee examining certain activities of the German intelligence services, and were published in leading national media outlets such as Der Spiegel, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Die Welt, and Stern.”The anti-media direction of the leak investigation is especially regrettable in light of the German Federal Constitutional Court’s recent decision in the so-called Cicero case,” wrote Haraszti in a letter to Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s Minister of Justice.”The groundbreaking decision of the Court in this case created a federal shield for journalists when publishing classified information, which the current investigation neglects and even goes against.”The OSCE Representative stressed that journalists cannot be prosecuted for publishing information of public interest. Furthermore, they should not be prosecuted for publishing classified information, unless the prosecution has a reasonable suspicion, supported by facts, that the journalists committed a crime in obtaining it.”Initiating proceedings against the media merely in retaliation for their publishing, with the aim of deterring them from similar editorial decisions, is inadmissible in a society proud of its press freedoms,” added Haraszti.”I call on the German authorities to stop prosecuting the journalists and ensure that media professionals can continue informing the public of important matters without intimidation,” he said.

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