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Walter Keim, Email: walter.keim@gmail.com
Torshaugv. 2 C
N-7020 Trondheim, 30. May 2005
 

Deutscher Presserat
(German press council)
Postfach 7160
D-53071 Bonn

Complaint against lies in German press, Access to Information missing in Germany

 

Dear Mr. Weyand,

I refer to the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) of 28. May 2005 page 9. You give the advice to the Norway's royal family to complain about press reports. You inform that everybody can complaint against press reports that are not true.

The Norwegian constitutional monarchy was founded in 1905 by plebiscite and has ever since had overwhelming support in the Norwegian public and from the people to conduct their duties as head of state.

I refer also to the newspaper Aftenposten 26 May 2005: Palace reacts to lies about Marius.

In addition I refer to the magazine "die aktuelle" Nr. 21 (2005) with the title "Daughter admired. Little Marius pushed off." and "Das Neue" of 21. May 2005. The headline is: "The sad fate of little Marius" (Das traurige Schicksal des kleinen Marius) a invented lie history that Marius is expelled from the royal family.

This violates German Presse Code:

because it is not true, not result of fair research and violates private live of a child. There is no public interest, especially because the press seems to argue that Marius is not really a part of the royal family. I would like to add that this is part of a campaign which has lasted for many years. Lie histories about divorce (das neue Nr. 17/2003), love affair to chauffeur, separation, abortion etc. The following newspapers participated: Bildzeitung, Illustrierte Wochenblätter 7 Tage, Frau mit Herz, FREIZEIT SPASS, die aktuelle, Neue Welt, Neue Post, Echo der Frau, Frau Aktuell, Freizeit Revue, das neue, Die Neue Frau und Das Neue Blatt. (VG 26.04.03 kl. 08:21) In addition Schöne Woche and Das Goldene Blatt participated. The reader is presented over and over again with false information and therefore at last believes in this lie histories.

Germany is one of the few countries in Europe with insult (StGB § 187) and defamation (StGB § 189) punished by prison, violating international law. But this is only used against critics of justice system and dissidents (e. g. prison for Helmut Palmer).

Germany is (in federation and 12 of 16 states) up to now the only major country in EU, Europe, OSCE, OECD and developed civilized countries without a Freedom of Information law.

I would like to emphasize that the right to information is part of the right to freedom of expression, which is confirmed by international human rights laws, specifically by the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights (article 19), and the Universal Declaration of Human rights (article 19), all of them ratified by Germany and incorporated into German law. Germany violates this pact.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU gives Freedom of Information in Article 42, access to documents in Article 41 (2), the right to complain in Article 43 (Ombudsman) and the right to fair answers within reasonable time in Article 41 (1).

UN, OSCE and AOS conform in their Joint Declaration of 6. December 2004, that Access to Information is a human right:

The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right which should be given effect at the national level through comprehensive legislation (for example Freedom of Information Acts) based on the principle of maximum disclosure, establishing a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.

I appreciate that OSCE concentrates on access to public documents in 2005. All OSCE States including Germany will be monitored. The Council of Europe will review the situation in the information in Europe in the context of a visit of the Human rights commissioner in 2005. There was a surveys on Access to Information

A Freedom of Information law has been promised since 1998. However the administrative lawmakers complaint that the press did not show enough interest. The press itself would have a big benefit for better research. Although the President of the German parliament has 22. December 2004 send chancellor Schröder my Petition of 21. December 2001 on Freedom of Information this is not interesting for the press. Therefore German authorities do not even answer letters and the ministers of the government obstruct parliament.

Human rights violations in Germany http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/de_menschenrechte.htm are not reported in the press. The first director of the German Institute for Human Rights (Deutschen Instituts für Menschenrechte) had to resign because he wanted to observe the human rights situation in Germany. He had such merits on human rights that he was honoured by the Internationalen Liga für Menschenrechte with the "Carl-von-Ossietzky-Medaille". But the press does not report this.

Would the quality of reporting become better if the production of lie histories would stop in favour for reporting on human rights and freedom of information to overcome Germanys deficit of enlightment?

The Princess Caroline was eventually successful in gaining an injunction from the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany against further publication of photographs of her children. (see: Private life: no common law for presidents, princesses and the public by Joanna Brett)

However Germany's Constitutional Court decreed that European Human Rights' Court judgments were not binding in German domestic courts: 2 BvR 1481/04. Germany violates Article 46 of the European Convention of Human Rights to obey judgments.

However to write about the private life of celebrities (Princess Caroline's court victory over German tabloids Bunte, Neue Post and Freizeit Revue) is so long considered more important then improving reliability of information by access to public documents. Freedom to write gossip is more important then facts. German press does not accept Princess Caroline's court victory over German tabloids Bunte, Freizeit Revue and Neue Post at the European Court of Human Rights, based on respect of private life.

I am sure that the contribution of the German press council can improve the reputation of German press.

Sincerely,  

Walter Keim
Senate (Bundesrat) plans to stopp Freedom of Information: http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/0506bundesrat-en.htm
Who invites the Human Rights Commissioner?:
http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/coe-031128.htm 
Will OSCE promote Freedom of Information? :
http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/osce-050106.htm

Copy: VG

Enclosure:

  1. Aftenposten 26 May 2005: Palace reacts to lies about Marius.
  2. Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) of 28. May 2005 page 9

Pressreports:

Letters (in German) send in this case:

05.6.05: Chefredaktør Peter Viktor Kulig gibt zu, dass die Geschichten der Fantasie entspringen, verteidigt diese Lügengeschichten doch damit, dass die Leser das wünschen und Marius das nicht liest..
07.6.05: Bestätigung des Eingangs, zusätzlich Information notwendig.
10.6.05: Weitere Informationen gegeben.
10.6.05: Folgende Texte wurden überandt (hier nur teilweise aufgeführt):
die-aktuelle-Nr.21/2005, das-neue-Nr.21/2005, Frau-mit-Herz-Nr.21/2005, FREIZEIT-SPASS-Nr.21/2005 und 7 Tage.
16.6.05:
Pressrat bestätigt Engegennahme der Bilder, möchte aber nähere Beschreibung der Kritik.
19.06.05:
Letzter Klageteil mit genauer Begründung im Detail.
10.10.05:
Bisher keine Antwort.

 

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