A criminal probe of two journalists at Netzpolitik, a Berlin blog, has provoked a major debate in Berlin about reforming Germany’s law on treason, with some policymakers now demanding clear parameters to protect journalists.
The controversy started when the Netzpolitik bloggers, Markus Beckedahl and André Meister, reported last week that they were being investigated on suspicion of treason for publishing what appeared to be a secret government file detailing Germany’s new push to surveil social media.
On Tuesday, the justice ministry removed the federal prosecutor in charge of the investigation – but not before stirring up a storm of protest and fears that the treason law could threaten freedom of the press.
Critics range from center-left Social Democrats, the government’s minority coalition partner, to the socialist Left Party and liberal Federal Democratic Party. They are all calling for better protection of journalists.