Because he reported for a newspaper from a squat, a reporter has to answer in court. The Verdi trade union sees this as an attempt by the Free State of Bavaria to retrospectively punish “undesirable reporting”.
Because he works for the newspaper published in Berlin taz reported on September 10th about a squatting in Munich, a journalist from Hanover has to answer before the Munich District Court next Thursday. Prosecutors accuse him of colluding with activists protesting against the International Motor Show (IAA). The short-term occupied house in Karlstraße belongs to the Free State of Bavaria. He had filed a criminal complaint for trespassing through a real estate subsidiary. Because the journalist did not accept a penalty order of 1,600 euros, the trial is now taking place.
In the run-up to the trial, the German Union of Journalists (dju) in the Verdi union asked the Free State to withdraw the criminal complaint. The journalist entered the building to get an immediate impression of what was happening. The national director of the dju, Monique Hofmann, sees the ad as an attempt by the Free State of Bavaria to subsequently punish “undesirable reporting” through criminal proceedings: “Journalists must be able to report unhindered on events that are relevant to the public,” she writes in one press release published on Thursday.
“If I want to provide information about a squat, I have to enter it,” said the person concerned. Journalistic work must be made possible, especially in buildings that are in public hands. On September 10, the journalist also reported on Twitter in words and pictures about the events during the squatting and the evacuation of the building. Among other things, he wrote: “I’m still in the building and will continue to report on developments.”
A police-escorted demonstration from the “No future for IAA” group stopped in front of the house on Karlstrasse on September 10. Demonstrators tried to climb trees. Others had already occupied the vacant building during the night: Banners were unfurled from the upper floors with the inscription “Block IAA” and Bengalos were set on fire. At around 1:30 p.m., the police cleared the house and arrested several people, among them the journalists.