Germany investigating news website, journalists for treason

New York, July 31, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by the allegations of treason against two journalists affiliated with the critical German news website Netzpolitik. German authorities on Thursday opened an investigation into the website’s bloggers, Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, as well as an unidentified third party, accusing them of treason, according to news reports. In February and April, Netzpolitik had reported on plans to expand Germany’s domestic surveillance of online communications, news reports said.

“These are grave allegations with potentially serious implications, not only for Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, but also for German media covering national security issues,” said Nina Ognianova, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “CPJ is monitoring these developments with great concern.”

Treason charges in Germany carry 15 years in prison, unless a judge chooses a harsher sentence, according to reports. The last time allegations of treason were made against the German press was in 1962, when the editor of Der Spiegel was accused of it after the outlet published documents about the German military, the reports said.