German conservatives try to gag online media

A report has tipped up on Heise’s online news mag Telepolis saying German conservatives are trying to gag online media ahead of a highly important state election.

Heads of the Christian Democrats in Germany’s most populated state North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) filed charges against parties unknown for leaking internal emails to blogs Ruhrbarone and Wir in NRW. The emails showed Boris Berger, a Christian Democrat working for the federal states premier Jürgen Ruttger in the state chancellory, was working for his party whilst being paid by the tax payer.

Berger sent emails back and forth to CDU spokesperson Mathias Heidmeier in regards to observing public appearances of Social Democrat leader Hannelore Kraft. Kraft was video taped by contractors working for her political opponent, in the hopes of filming something which could be used in the usual election battles. The emails were publicised and publicly embarassed the CDU.

Filing charges against data theft is a last-ditch attempt to stop internal memos and emails being leaked to the press, especially online media. The journalist behind Wir in NRW, former newspaper editor Alfons Pieper, has stated he will keep on publicising material sent to him. State elections for NRW are coming up in May and the CDU has seen its popularity go down in the polls.

It will be nigh impossible for the federal government’s conservative-liberal coaliation to pass laws if the state is lost to the opposition. Perhaps the CDU might think about passing new laws against whistleblowers and blogs should the state be won.