German government accuses news website of treason over leaks – Guardian
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
Germany has opened a treason investigation into a news website a broadcaster said had reported on plans to increase state surveillance of online communication.
German media said it was the first time in more than 50 years journalists had faced treason charges, and some denounced the move as an attack on the freedom of the press.
“The federal prosecutor has started an investigation on suspicion of treason into the articles … published on the internet blog Netzpolitik.org,” a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said.
She added the move followed a criminal complaint by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), over articles about the BfV that appeared on the website on 25 February and 15 April. It said the articles had been based on leaked documents.
The public broadcaster ARD reported Netzpolitik.org had published an article on how the BfV was seeking extra funding to increase its online surveillance, and another about plans to set up a special unit to monitor social media, both based on leaked confidential documents.
And this is how it starts. The press reports on state surveillance and then the state accuses them of treason. In the UK, the only crime that still carries the death penalty is treason (death by hanging). It’s the classic blueprint to closing down a democracy. Democracy will wither and die if this goes unchallenged.