Former German first lady tries to censor the net

The wife of former German president Christian Wulff is trying to suppress internet rumours about her past.

According to DW.deBettina Wulff is suing Google to stop the search engine linking to what she calls “rumours” about her alleged former movements in the red light district.

The German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Wulff, the 38-year-old wife of the former president, had submitted an affidavit stating that all claims about her having worked as a prostitute or “escort” in her younger years were false.

More than 34 German and foreign bloggers as well as media outlets had signed declarations over the past few months pledging to cease and desist from citing such allegations.

Apparently money has changed hands as people tried to keep the Wulff from the door and make her lawyers go away. The report mentioned that several media outlets had to pay tens of thousands of euros for repeating the rumours.

Wulff had also filed lawsuits with the Hamburg district court against well-known German TV personality Günter Jauch.

Jauch refused to sign a cease-and-desist declaration after being requested to do so by Wulff’s lawyer in May. Jauch’s TV show had quoted a newspaper article regarding the rumours it had also interviewed the deputy editor of Bild about the affair.

Wulff’s view is that Jauch had played a central role in the destruction of her reputation.

The case against Google aims to stop the website using such phrases as “red-light past,” “prostitute” or “escort” when Bettina Wulff’s name is entered in the search window.

Wulff is publishing a book about her life this month which she said will counter the allegations and will be available in all good bookstores.

There has been some pondering in Germany about what happened to her husband Christian Wulff. He was a leading figure in Christian Democratic Union circles in Hanover and the premier of the state of Lower Saxony.

Wulff stepped down from the position after just 20 months in office this year in response to the accusations against him. These were rumours that he was taking backhanders which were never proved. The claims about Bettina circulated at about the same time and might have been part of a campaign to get rid of him.