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Home Society Release for reporter Radio Dreyeckland who linked to banned Indymedia site

Release for reporter Radio Dreyeckland who linked to banned Indymedia site

by News Room
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Victory for press freedom: Journalist Fabian Kienert has been acquitted. (archive) he did not support a banned organization. But the story still has legal ramifications.

Martin Schwarzbeck | Netzpolitik (translation

3 min reading time

(By Martin Schwarzbeck, see also German answers below the original article. Image – Logo: Radio Dreyeckland; Justitia: Pixabay; Flasche: macrovector / Freepik; Montage:

It took nine trial days to deliver this verdict: Fabian Kienert, a journalist at the Freiburg radio station Radio Dreyeckland (RDL), did nothing illegal when he linked to, the Karlsruhe Regional Court ruled today. “Unfortunately, most of the damage is irreparable. The search, with its consequences, and the threatened impact on the work of numerous journalists, especially at independent radio stations, has already been done,” Kienert said in his ruling to the court yesterday.

Thomas de Maizière, then interior minister of the Christian Democratic CDU, declared the left-radical left open publishing platform a prohibited association under the Associations Act in 2017. In 2020, the site returned to the web as a purely clean archive, and the investigation against the alleged operators ended in mid-2022. Kienert wrote about the termination of the procedure on the RDL website – including a link to the archive page. The police then went to his home, the RDL manager’s home and office. The prosecutor’s office claimed that Kienert supported a banned organization through the link.

It remains unclear whether prosecutors will accept the acquittal or review it in federal court on appeal. This will likely be decided based on the written reasons for the judgment. This is still in progress. However, one important court argument has already become clear during the trial: It is uncertain whether the banned organization that Kienert allegedly supported through the link still exists. And what does not exist cannot be supported. Fabian Kienert says: “I hope that after the acquittal, the state government will also send a signal to the prosecutor that no more taxpayers’ money should be used to fight freedom of the press.”

In the first episode of our documentary podcast “System Settings”, we tell the story of the robberies of Radio Dreyeckland.

At least one court has yet to hear the case: Fabian Kienert, supported by the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechten (Association for Civil Liberties), is appealing the home search to the Federal Constitutional Court. The purpose of the search was to find out who had written the article linking to – although Kienert had signed it with his initials and had always clearly acknowledged this. So the proportionality is questionable to say the least. The search warrants for the RDL manager’s home and supplies have ultimately been ruled illegal.

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