With the search of the free radio station, authorities obtained large amounts of unencrypted data. The public prosecutor’s office also demanded that the web host hand over the IP addresses of all visitors.
All those affected by the search of Freiburg’s Radio Dreyeckland have received their confiscated devices back. This was stated by the managing directors Michael Menzel and Andreas Reimann at a press conference in Freiburg on Monday. The information on the devices had been copied by the police and is now being analysed.
The data seized from Reimann’s computer was not encrypted, the radio confirmed to „nd“. Now the police in Baden-Württemberg have access to his email correspondence, including with sources and other journalists on financial matters. The directors suspect that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution may also use the information. In addition, passwords for other platforms of the broadcaster had been on the device, but these had been changed immediately.
On 17 January, the police searched the radio station’s premises on behalf of the public prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe, as well as the homes of Reimann and long-time editor Fabian Kienert. The background is a preliminary investigation on „suspicion of a violation of a ban on association“. The radio collective had published an article containing a reference to „Linksunten Indymedia“.
The internet platform was banned by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 2017 under the Associations Act. The same public prosecutor’s office now prosecutes Radio Dreyeckland because of the one link. The cited section 85 of the Criminal Code provides for sentences of up to five years in prison for this.
Managing director Menzel criticises the search as an attack on editorial secrecy and the protection of informants. It is a „structural exploration“ of a broadcasting service provider that is committed to democracy, according to Menzel. The radio station uses public funds to finance programmes on Corona deniers, criticism of police work or the treatment of refugees from Ukraine.
The prosecutors had also not chosen milder means before a search, as required, such as an enquiry with the state media authority, Menzel says. However, Reimann and Kienert had received an unspecified summons for proceedings under the law on associations. They had not complied with the summons, which was part of their rights as defendants. According to the files, the search had been planned for some time.
In addition, the public prosecutor’s office had made a request to the hoster of the radio’s website, demanding the disclosure of visitors‘ IP addresses, a technician explained at the press conference. However, the Telemedia Act cited as justification only allows this for inventory data.
The public prosecutor’s office apparently does not regard free radio as a medium to which the freedom of the press and freedom of reporting, as guaranteed by Article 5 of the Constitution, applies, suspects managing director Menzel. For example, a colleague from Morning Radio was forbidden to announce the search during the live broadcast because it incited people to commit crimes, the police claimed.
Radio Dreyeckland has filed an appeal against the search, which was authorised by the district court. The persons concerned are then considering going to the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Demonstration against the raids in Freiburg (Ali Majeed, Our Voice, all rights reserved).
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