#DontSpyJournos: ECPMF supports campaign against new German Intelligence Service law

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom supports an international campaign which aims to protect non-EU journalists against mass surveillance by the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND). Coordinated by Reporters without Borders (RSF), different German and international media freedom and human rights organisations jointly speak out to stop the current draft of the law. The draft, which is at present being discussed by the German Bundestag, would allow the wiretapping of foreign journalists and other professionals entrusted with secret information (e.g. doctors) when this serves the political interest of the German state. With a joint petition, an amendment should be made to safeguard journalists.

Radar station Bad Aibling Radar station Bad Aibling (Photo: Dr. Johannes W. Dietrich, Bad aibling station 1, CC BY 2.0)

Michelle Trimborn, spokesperson of ECPMF, says: “All journalists – inside and outside the EU – must be protected against mass surveillance and wiretapping. We urge the German federal state to recognise that journalists can only do their important job when they and their sources can communicate safely. The new BND-law does not only violate the freedom of media, but also endangers journalism as important foundation for democracy.”

As it is hard to foresee which of information might be given to other Secret Service agencies, the mass surveillance might extremely endanger journalists and their sources – especially in countries where free reporting is hardly possible. “Wiretapping journalists and other professionals trusted with secret information must remain an exception. Every other approach weakens media freedom and human rights. If the German federal government now sets such an example, it will lose credibility for its many positive efforts made for the protection of democratic rights on national and international level”, Trimborn continues.

Apart from the ECPMF and Reporters without Borders, also ECPMFs partner organisation the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Amnesty International, the German Federation of Journalists (DJV), the German Journalists’ Union (dju), netzwerk recherché (nr), n-ost, Weltreporter, Freelens and the German Union of Female Journalists (Journalistinnenbund) support the global petition against the law. They all jointly advocate for a protective clause for journalists which should allow any wiretapping only in individual cases and with high legal obstacles.

Support our petition

The ECPMF and its international partners call upon media freedom supporters all over the globe to speak up for the protection of journalists and to sign the joint petition. The signatures will be delivered to the German Bundestag in September.


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