Berlin (dpa) - After a police-critical newspaper column, Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) is considering a criminal complaint against the author.
At first he had announced that he would put it on Monday - now it will only be decided in the afternoon. The decision should be made after his return to Berlin, the minister said in Stuttgart, where he got an idea of the situation after the riots last weekend. There was fierce criticism of Seehofer's plans from the media industry.
The controversial column of a «taz» employee appeared in the daily newspaper a week ago. In the text, the author set up a mental game where police officers could work if the police were abolished, but capitalism did not.
At the end of the column it says: «I can only think of one suitable option spontaneously: the landfill. Not as rubbish people with keys to houses, but on the heap where they are really only surrounded by waste. They are sure to feel most comfortable among their own kind. » A lot of criticism came from the professional group and from politicians. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper expressed regret that a debate was launched in-house.
According to the Berlin public prosecutor's office, more than a dozen advertisements have so far been received on the column, including charges of sedition. It is currently being checked whether there is an initial suspicion, it said on Monday. The German press council as a self-control of the press has reported almost 300 complaints about the text. This includes one of the Federal Police's main staff council at the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
Seehofer had announced the criminal complaint on Sunday at "Bild" as a matter of fact: "Tomorrow, as Federal Minister of the Interior, I will file a criminal complaint against the columnist for the unspeakable article in the" taz "about the police." Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is also in discussion with Seehofer, as government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.
According to Seehofer, incitement or insult could be considered as criminal offenses for an advertisement. His house had already checked the possibility of an advertisement last week. It is a "very difficult interface between freedom of the press and criminal law," said Seehofer. "I said myself that you have to pay attention to both."
The minister emphasized: «We as politicians, but also the population as a whole, must make it clear that the very, very large majority of our population is behind the German police.» Baden-Württemberg's interior minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) jumped in at Seehofer: "Anyone who calls for people to be thrown in the trash must be questioned."
«Taz» editor-in-chief Barbara Junge said on Monday about Seehofer's announcement from the previous day: «His decision could not have been clearer. His complaint against our author is a shameful attack on freedom of the press. »
Media scientist Bernhard Pörksen from the University of Tübingen sees the criminal complaint as "a form of mood activism" that a minister of the interior is not entitled to. "It is clearly a border crossing aimed at intimidating a journalist," he told the German Press Agency.
The chairman of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), Frank Überall, emphasized: «My spontaneous reaction to the news of the criminal complaint against" taz ": Does Horst Seehofer want to open the campaign against the media?» Everywhere at the same time emphasized that the column, called satire, was borderline. The "taz" had already expressed its regret. "This should be the topic for Horst Seehofer as well," explained Everywhere.
The Federal President of the German Union of Journalists at Verdi, Tina Groll, said: "As Minister of the Interior, who also has to defend the freedom of the press guaranteed under constitutional law, Seehofer has other options for political debate than swinging the legal club."
The Green Party spokeswoman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Irene Mihalic, told the dpa: "When government members act against journalists in this way, it has a very bland taste and is reminiscent of the Orban style." SPD parliamentary group deputy Dirk Wiese said: "Unfortunately, a society has to endure tasteless and unspeakable contributions." Freedom of the press is a high and worthy of protection. "The announcement by Federal Interior Minister Seehofer to file a complaint against the taz journalist is irritating."
Editor-in-chief on display