Together against the ban on the Indymedia platform linksunten: We are all meant. That means freedom of the press!

On January 29.1.2020, 2008, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig is to hear the lawfulness of the ban on the Indymedia linksunten internet platform. Indymedia linksunten was founded in XNUMX as an offshoot of the global Indymedia network. It sees itself as an open media offer, as a space that is used decentrally by a wide variety of actors to publish left-wing content.

On August 25, 2017, the private homes of five people and an autonomous cultural center in Freiburg were searched by a large police force and technical devices, storage media, but also books, private notes, flyers and other items were seized. The reason for the search was the execution of a decree by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) prohibiting the internet platform linksunten.indymedia.org.

The legal trick was to declare Indymedia linksunten as an "association" in order to be able to apply the instrument of association law. In this way, the significantly higher requirements for a ban under the Telemedia Act could be circumvented. The alleged association was accused of going against the constitutional order because, among other things, calls for violence had been published on the platform. For such criminally relevant cases, however, the laws – in this case the Telemedia Act and the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty – provide for a different procedure. The ban was therefore implemented via association law, knowing full well that this would not have been possible for the Ministry of the Interior under the actually relevant media law of the federal states.

It is completely unclear who is supposed to represent the “linksunten.indymedia” association. There is no evidence that they are the people who were searched. The confiscated hard drives could not be decrypted by the authorities. The criminal proceedings initiated were discontinued in August 2019. The investigations into a complaint by a fraternity member and AfD official about the "formation of a criminal organization" have also been temporarily suspended.

Indymedia linksunten is a cross-current, left-wing press medium, the open publication practice is protected by the fundamental right to freedom of expression. The ban on association rights was a political act, a gesture of attempted intimidation against the political left per se. The ban was preceded by various protests against the G20 summit in Hamburg. As a result, and ahead of the 2017 federal election, a show of strength and intimidation should be sent to the left.

We are certain: the construction of the ban is untenable. We assume that the ban will be declared illegal and that the platform can then resume its work.”

It is about nothing less than freedom of the press and the possibility of free, political expression of opinion.

This call is supported by:

– Committee on Fundamental Rights and Democracy
– Digitalcourage eV
– Humanist Union
– Chaos Computer Club
– International League for Human Rights
– freedom foo
– Federal Working Group of Critical Jurassic Groups (BAKJ)
– Cilip – Civil Rights & Police Information Service
– Association of Democratic Lawyers (VDJ)
– LaborNet Germany
– Working group of critical lawyers Freiburg
– Critical lawyers FU Berlin
– Working group of critical lawyers in Greifswald
– Working group of critical lawyers in Leipzig
– Working group of critical lawyers Halle/ Saale
– Grassroots initiative Solidarity Wuppertal
– plus humanité eV
– GG/BO solo group Leipzig
– “Racism kills!”-Leipzig
– Press collective 04277

(Please send further declarations of support from organizations and initiatives to: kontakt@linXXnet.de).

Opinions on the linksunten ban

“There would have been fewer drastic measures to take action against criminal content on linksunten.indymedia. The fact that the federal government completely bans an online portal that is journalistic despite everything through the back door of association law and thus bypasses a legal consideration of the fundamental right to freedom of the press is extremely questionable in terms of the rule of law. Internationally, this is a worrying signal and gives repressive regimes all over the world an excuse to do the same as the German authorities.”

(Christian Mihr, Managing Director Reporters Without Borders)

“It is obvious that in times when society is increasingly shifting to the right and when populist and authoritarian tendencies are gaining strength, such attacks on fundamental democratic rights are to be expected. However, if a journalistic platform can be banned through the back door using the means of association law, the fundamental right to freedom of the press becomes wasteland. A committed fight against the ban on “linksunten” is therefore urgently needed, not only on a legal but also on a civil society level.” (Angela Furmaniak, lawyer and member of the Republican Lawyers’ Association RAV)

“The ban on linksunten indymedia was not constitutional. As a result, it was not just any association that was banned, but a media offer that was used in particular to disseminate opinions. It is therefore under the protection of freedom of expression Article 5, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law. (Maren Leifker / Christine Meissler in the Fundamental Rights Report 2018)

On January 29, 2020, between 08:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and 14:00 p.m. and 16:00 p.m., the Initiative for Freedom of the Press will hold a rally in front of the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. parallel to the process beginning there.

Already on January 25 in Leipzig Protest against the ban called.

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