Investigative journalism under attack
UPDATED: 31.7.15: Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests - For the good of media freedom, Germanys prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance (Guardian, link)
The Federal Prosecutor General is investigating two German journalists suspected of treason for releasing information classified as "confidential" online. Charges have been filed against Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, the two reporters who run the blog netzpolitik.org.
In February and April 2015 netzpolitik.org leaked information about
plans of the domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt Verfassungsschutz) for the massive expansion of internet surveillance. The programme, called Extended Support Internet (Erweiterte Fachuntersttzung Internet - EFI), had already been reported in June 2014 by German mainstream media. In February 2014, netzpolitik.org published additional budget details. In April the blog published the classified concept for EFI. Among other matters the concept details plans for "unconventional surveillance of telecommunication" targeting communication servers rather than individuals and aiming at hacking encrypted communication.
netzpolitik.org is also among the few German media that closely observe the proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee of the German Bundestag which is investigating NSA mass surveillance and the complicity of the German intelligence agencies. That the Federal Prosecutor General who failed to investigate charges against the NSA is now investigating journalists and their whistleblowers is a deeply disturbing assault against journalism critical of the intelligence agencies' activities and an assault against the freedom of press.
See also: Germany probes digital rights blog for treason (The Local, link) and German government accuses news website of treason over leaks (Guardian, link) "For the first time in more than 50 years journalists are facing treason charges, which is being denounced as an attack on the freedom of the press"
And: "Suspicion of Treason: Federal Attorney General Announces Investigation Against Us In Addition To Our Sources (link) plus
German press, politicians criticize 'absurd' Netzpolitik inquiry (DW, link)
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