Reporters against freedom of speech

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at 6:25 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, Germany, internet, Press freedom | 3 Comments

Reporters without borders is a respected international organisation which is recognized for their efforts to promote press freedom and freedom of speech. Their web site’s front page displays the names and account of journalists and web dissidents jailed allover the World. It looks, however, like their German branch would be about to score an own goal and become reporters against freedom of speech.

Marcel Bartels has received an e-mail from the German branch asking him to remove a link to their web site. He was unable to reach by phone the person who sent the request but he is expecting a call back today which would explain the reasons for this bizarre request. I am going to keep an eye on the developments to see if the German branch is worth its name or rather reporters for censorship.

I do hope that this would turn out to be a misunderstanding from their side because I would hate to see another respected international organisation made look silly by their German branch. You may remember the huge PR disaster caused to Transparency International in March by the reckless lawsuite against Moni. The mess was caused by the unethical advisor of the German branch against transparency.

Apart from TI-D, these latest developments also remind me of the unvoluntary comics by the German Ministry of Idiots Health. They also seem to be under the impression that they have a say on who links to their web site. It is somewhat understandable that bureaucrats do not understand how the Internet works but an organisation dedicated to promote freedom of speech should really know better than that.

Marcel has had his share of legal problems lately. He has been sued too often to be kept track about. As a note to myself, I am going to return to some of those cases shortly.

Update: As Marcel explains below, The German branch of Reporters without borders have told him that they got it wrong in the first place and the whole matter was a misunderstanding. I am glad that they seem to have come to their senses.


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  1. Feel the difference: I am glad to say, that “Reporter ohne Grenzen just called me back, explained to me, that the email was an error and that I should please ignore this email.

    For me, this case is closed with that call, though it could not be cleared, what was the incentive for this email. As I like the job the “Reporter ohne Grenzen” do in the name of the freedom of speech, I put back my link to “Reporter ohne Grenzen”.

  2. I couldn’t believe that the German section of “Reporters Without Borders” had something against a hyperlink from the German blog “Mein Parteibuch”. But obviously it was a misunderstanding, so we can forget the e-mail that Marcel Bartels had received.

  3. This is great news, Marcel! I am glad that Reporters without borders proved that they deserve to be linked as reporters with integrity. ūüôā

    I’ll get back to those other and more serious legal issues in the next couple of days.

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