Freedom Of The Press On Trial In Germany

New legislation in the German parliament threatens to endanger basic rights of freedom of the press and the right of reporters to protect the anonymity of their sources. A bill is working its way through the Bundestag which compels telecom providers to make recording of all communications regardless of whether or not the person is under investigation or simply an individual communicating with family and friends. This storehouse of data would be made available to law enforcement agencies. In effect, it allows the government to pick and choose any data about any person who has communicated via telecom or the Internet. This legislation would make impossible for journalists to guarantee the right of privacy to sources when engaged in any aspect of investigative reporting. The proposed law also allows a judge to weigh the needs of prosecutors in deciding whether or not a journalist must be compelled to testify.

In a sense, we are witnessing George Bush’s export of anti-democratic processes in the pursuit of enabling democracy to triumph over the supposed forces of evil. The American Patriot Act is now being copied in many societies including Germany and Hungary. There is something terribly ironic in debasing democratic values in pursuit of gaining democratic values. But, we live in the age of Bush when words lose meaning and torture becomes an act of kindness. Hopefully, saner minds will halt passage of this law in Germany.

  • Militant yankee

    Oh those poor terrorists!!! It absolutely breaks my heart when water is forced down the throat of someone who has decided to murder in the name of a deity that I do not believe in.

    Actually I want them all dead and I want their supporters dead as soon as possible. It’s unfortunate when innocent people have to die, but better them than us.

    It’s so easy for someone from a country that is not under the constant threat of a nuclear attack from Islamic terrorists to tell the world to be nice and just get along. We’re going to do whatever it takes to ensure that no more skyscrapers fall on our people and YOU SHOULD TOO!!

    When hundreds die on the U-bahn due to a terrorist attack we will see much less whining from the Germans regarding the evil U.S.A. and their monstrous leader. In our modern society

    What a worthless ally you turned out to be!!! When we finally needed your help you hurt us more than you helped.

    Oh well enjoy the slippery slope and I hope your grandchildren speak beautiful Chinese.

    Mr. Gorbachev, rebuild this wall!!!

  • Fred Stopsky

    Your assumption is that people being tortured are guilty. The recent case of a Canadian who was tortured led to apologies from the Canadian government and even Rice admitted it was a mistake. Actually, as far as I know, there are only about 2 cases in which anyone imprisoned at Guantanamo has been convicted of anything. There was a recent meeting of US interrogators during WWII and they considered torture to be the most ineffective means of obtaining information. How many of those examples in which one had to torture because a bomb was ready to explode can you actually cite? By the way, I would be delighted if my grandchildren spoke Chinese.
    I love your remark, “it’s unfortunate when innocent people have to die, but better them than us.” What if you are one of the innocent people who died?