Germany Officially Drops Ridiculous 'Treason' Investigation Into Netzpolitik

from the took-long-enough dept

Last month, we wrote about how German officials were investigating the German news site Netzpolitik (which covers a lot of the same things that Techdirt covers) for treason. That was because of a few stories on Netzpolitik that published whistleblowing documents on plans to expand Germany’s internet surveillance powers. The investigation resulted in widespread protests by people concerned about the chilling effects created by investigating reporters for possible treason for merely reporting on the news.

There was also plenty of disagreement within the government itself, with the German Justice Minister expressing his disapproval of the investigation and eventually firing the prosecutor after that prosecutor accused the Justice Minister of “encroaching” on his independence.

Now, a week later, German prosecutors have officially dropped the investigation, though it still raises questions about why it was started in the first place.

On Monday the federal prosecutor?s office said it was closing the case because it believed the leaked documents on which the website?s reports were based were not a ?state secret?, and that other conditions for treason charges had not been met.

Thankfully, Markus Beckedahl, the editor-in-chief of Netzpolitik, does not want the matter to end there either. He wants to know why the investigation began in the first place:

Beckedahl suggested the decision to drop the inquiry was not enough. ?We want to know precisely whether we were subject to surveillance measures during the almost three-month investigation,? he said. Beckedahl said he hoped the case would motivate authorities to improve protection for whistleblowers in Germany.

Hopefully, this does lead to much better protection for both journalists and whistleblowers.

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Companies: netzpolitik

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