Heilmann backs off

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 4:24 | Posted in Germany, internet, web 2.0. | 4 Comments
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German MP Lutz Heilmann has withrawn his complaint and the German court in Lübeck lifted the interim injunction against Wikimedia Deutschland. Alas, the German Wikipedia is now acessible via www.wikipedia.de after being blocked during the weekend.

While backfiring heavily on Mr. Heilmann and the Left Party, the incident seems to have had a happy end for Wikimedia Deutschland. Spiegel reports about extensive public outrage and support to the German Wiki foundation:

Shutting down the German portal seems to have backfired, drawing far more attention to the Schleswig-Holstein politician’s past than his Wikipedia entry alone ever did. The German Web site received €16,000 in donations over the weekend, more than quadruple its usual rate. Wikipedia users also flooded the Left Party with angry e-mails.

I just wonder how come so many prominent people only learn the hard way about how the Internet works. Then again, I suppose the web was not a common tool back when Lutz Heilmann worked for the STASI.

German MP scores own goal

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 18:05 | Posted in absurd, Freedom of speech, Germany, internet, Legal, web 2.0. | 6 Comments
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If you type www.wikipedia.de into the address bar of your browser you would normally find a search box for articles in the German Wikipedia which is hosted in a US based server belonging to  Wikimedia Foundation. As from late Friday, the page looks like this (click for a full size view):

The reason for this provisional change of layout is an interim injunction issued by Landgericht Lübeck. The court injunction was sought by Left Party member of German Federal Parliament Lutz Heilmann. Wikipedia.de is ordered not to redirect to de.wikipedia.org, i.e. the German Wikipedia.

Mr Heilmann is apparently unhappy about an article in German Wikipedia about himself. I addition to regular CV there is a short passage about Lutz Heilmann’s alleged activities within the former East German Secret Police STASI. Referring to an article in Spiegel Online, Wikipedia writes:

Mitarbeiter des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit

Im Oktober 2005 enthüllte Der Spiegel die von Heilmann bislang verschwiegene Stasi-Vergangenheit. Heilmann gibt bis heute öffentlich an, von 1985 bis 1990 einen „verlängerte[n] Wehrdienst (Personenschutz MfS)“ geleistet zu haben.[2] Heilmann war nach Ableisten der allgemeinen Wehrpflicht von 18 Monaten für die Zeit bis 1990 als Berufssoldat beim MfS beschäftigt und verließ dieses erst, als es aufgelöst wurde.[4]

Vor der Wahl hatte Heilmann den Mitgliedern des Landesverbandes seine Tätigkeit beim MfS verschwiegen. Dies stellte einen Verstoß gegen innerparteiliche Richtlinien dar. Auf dem Landesparteitag am 4. Dezember 2005 stimmten die Mitglieder des Landesverbandes Schleswig-Holstein über einen Misstrauensantrag gegen Heilmann ab. Das Ergebnis war 47 Stimmen für Heilmann zu 42 gegen ihn.[4] Heilmann ist seitdem innerhalb der Linken in Schleswig-Holstein umstritten.[5]

According to Mr Heilmann, he was enrolled in a “prolonged military service” from 1985 and 1990 but Spiegel says they are in possession of documents confirming that he was working full time for the STASI:

In den nach dem Fall der Mauer von Bürgerrechtlern gesicherten Gehaltslisten des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit (MfS) ist Heilmann 1989 als hauptamtlicher Mitarbeiter des DDR-Geheimdienstes registriert. Nach Aktenlage war er in der Hauptabteilung Personenschutz tätig, die für die Sicherung und Versorgung der Partei- und Staatsführung zuständig war.

Wikimedia Deutschland are going to file a counter motion tomorrow but it may still take some time before things return to normal. This is not the first time Wikimedia Deutschland have been targetted by legal action. Hubertus Albers a.k.a Atze Schröder last year unsuccessfully intimidated took legal action against then CEO Arne Klempert.

The funny thing is that barely anybody took notice when Spiegel published the information about Mr Heilmann’s alleged STASI activities but it has become more than common knowledge now thanks to his own reactions. I call this a classical example of own goal 2.0.

via RA-Blog and Compyblog

Edit: There is a short article about Mr. Heilmann in the English Wikipedia.

Self censorsip by German Wikipedia

Friday, March 16, 2007 at 5:37 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, Germany, Legal | 7 Comments
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The article about Atze Schröder in German Wikipedia is closed for editing after a hot debate. The real name of the stand up comedian, Hubertus Albers, has been removed from the article.

This act of self censorship is based on a ruling of Landgericht Berling placing a gag order on a German newspaper to print the name Hubertus Albers. Wikipedia is no party in the case.

For more details see my post yesterday.

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