Tue, Aug. 11, 2009

Media Quoting Media: Liability

CK - Washington.   A far-reaching decision on the freedom of the media in Germany is coming down the pike if the press release published by the German Federal Constitutional Court on August 11, 2009 is any indication.

The case, docket number 1BvR 134/03, involves a print magazine that published an overview of current third-party media which, in turn, contained unedited excerpts from other periodicals. The plaintiff is mentioned in an original and sued the magazine for damages, on the grounds that the magazine had omitted its own fact-checking and redistributed a false statement.

While the constitutional court in Karlsruhe agreed with the lower courts on the issue of fact-checking, it affirmed in great detail freedom of the press issues with respect to excerpts and the redistribution of op-eds and third-party opinions. In addition, it examined the interplay of the German constitution and European human rights issues.

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