'Netzpolitik' Journalists Charged With Treason -- Protests Have Begun

Jose Florez

One German news website is hitting the media spotlight following two published reports on domestic surveillance.

As part of a federal investigation initiated by German officials, a news website, Netzpolitik.org, is receiving heat over controversial leaks. The German news outlet, which publishes articles on data protection, freedom of information, internet politics, and digital rights, committed treason, according to German authorities. However, protesters supporting the German journalists, in addition to the mainstream media, say otherwise.

According to a Reuters report, on Thursday, a treason investigation was requested. German media immediately reported the incident of treason as being the first in over 50 years. The media also voiced their opinions, stating that the investigation was an attack on freedom of speech. Andre Meiste, a journalist at Netzpolitik, stated the following.

"This is an attack on the freedom of the press,

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office also commented in regard to the investigation.

"The Federal Prosecutor has started an investigation on suspicion of treason into the articles... published on the internet blog Netzpolitik.org..."

As many have cited, the articles published at Netzpolitik were based on leaked documents of government snooping. The following information was grabbed from one of the articles that landed German journalists in hot water.

"The German domestic secret service is setting up a new department to improve and extend its internet surveillance capabilities, investing several million Euros. We hereby publish the secret description for the new unit named 'Extended Specialist Support Internet.' More than 75 spies are designated to monitor online chats and Facebook, create movement patterns and social network graphs and covertly collect hidden information."
"The German domestic security agency is authorized by G-10-law to derogate the fundamental right to privacy of correspondence, post and telecommunication. The same rules apply to the foreign and military intelligence agencies BND (Federal Intelligence Service) and MAD (Military Shielding Service). But unlike BND, the domestic security agency BfV has to restrict its communication surveillance to individual, suspicion-based cases. Nonetheless, BND collects data from strategic mass surveillance and can legally share that with BfV. Covert usage of technical measures like eavesdropping with the help of microphones and cameras. BfV is developing new methods like covert IT surveillance of online services."

Thousands of protesters have invaded the streets of Berlin to show support for the controversial news website Netzpolitik. On Saturday, over 2,000 protesters marched with signs like "For fundamental rights and freedom of the press" and "RIP democracy."

Also trending this week, a Canadian journalist working for Al Jazeera had a delayed trial after publishing false reports. Journalists which include Brian Williams, Judith Miller and Jason Felch, all have been slammed for false reporting, the Inquisitr reported.

(Photo via Netzpolitik.org)