Germany: Attack on Freedom of Press

Radio Dreyeckland, RDL, belongs to the sphere of democratic-progressive media in the Germany-France-Switzerland tri-border area. Important contributions can be found regularly on their website and on the radio itself. These come partly directly from the masses, from the neighborhoods, about their situation. These are topics that are deliberately not taken up by the bourgeois press. These include the issue of the miserable living conditions in Weingarten and the complicity of the city of Freiburg in this. In addition, there is extensive coverage of a wide variety of progressive protests. These are not limited to Freiburg, but go far beyond. There are also regular publications in different languages. These also address and discuss class struggles in other countries. Actions of the revolutionary movement in general and of proletarian revolutionaries in particular are part of RDL’s coverage.

At the instigation of the German Secret Service, Staatsschutz, raids took place on January 17, 2023, under the flimsiest of pretexts, in the editorial offices, at a staff member and at a board member of the radio. The threat was made to confiscate all of the station’s technology if there was no cooperation. The news site reported on this attack as an attempt by the state to cover progressive reporting in the FRG with repression in January. The whole case developed into an example for the state becoming more and more reactionary by direct attacking and undermining the freedom of press.

Obviously, a part of the state apparatus has gone onto socio-political ice here. The reactions were largely in solidarity with RDL. From bourgeois parties, journalists’ associations, well-known personalities to the Republican Lawyers’ Association, they all sided with RDL.

After the raids, it became clear how deep the encroachment on editorial secrecy and the exploration of a licensed broadcaster goes. It is true that the laptops, PCs, smartphones and storage media were returned three days after the seizure. However, the Karlsruhe public prosecutor’s office has already announced its intention to conduct a further evaluation. The data, which was only partially encrypted, was mirrored for further evaluation. The public prosecutor’s office requested all IP addresses from the hoster. This would have affected not only the 150 or so broadcasters, but all listeners and users. This could only be prevented by the intervention of a lawyer. Legally, the criminal investigation should never have begun, because the Indymedia.Linksunten ban, the reason for the raid, refers to an open-posting-platform that no longer exists. What is at issue is a structural investigation of a broadcaster licensed in a democratic constitutional state that actively promotes the consistent implementation of human and civil rights. This is a law against the freedom of opinion.

The search warrants were illegal from start to end. According to their very own law, the press must be allowed to report critically on media bans – this includes linking to relevant sites. This is the only way readers can inform themselves and form an own opinion. The illegal searches and seizures follow on seamlessly from the disproportionate ban on linksunten.indymedia. First, the right of association was abused to ban an online medium. Now critical reporting on this action has also been criminalized.

On March 13, the detailed justifications of the complaints against the searches of the radio rooms, the apartment of the responsible person in terms of the press law of Radio Dreyeckland and a longtime RDL editor were now filed at the Regional Court of Karlsruhe. The fundamental importance of the case for press freedom in Germany is also made clear by the fact that the renowned civil rights organization Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF) supports the complaint and, if necessary, also supports going to the Federal Constitutional Court.

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