Journalists Surveilled By German Intelligence Agency 28/02/2017 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The German Federal Intelligence Agency (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) spied on foreign journalists, according to a report of German magazine “Der Spiegel”. A document obtained by the magazine showed that the BND had taps on at least 50 phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses of journalists from the BBC, Reuters and the New York Times. Der Spiegel’s report is here. The new BND building More than a dozen numbers on the target list belonged to BBC reporters and editors in Afghanistan and London. With regard to the New York Times, the offices in Afghanistan were of interest to the German spooks, as were mobile and satellite phones by Reuters reporters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. The revelations resulted in a heated discussion between government and opposition politicians and journalist organisations in Germany. Clemens Binninger, expert for intelligence agencies for the ruling Christian-Democratic Party (CDU), tried to calm the discussion pointing out that the parliament oversight body for the intelligence services (PKG) had already reacted to the practice, criticized the agency for it and drawn conclusions in an update on the respective legislation. Adopted in 2016, the new BND law allowed spying on media representatives only in those cases where there was an concrete link to terrorist activities. An additional newly established oversight body would take decisions on individual cases. The organisation “Reporters without Borders” in Germany sternly rejected Binninger’s comments, calling them an appeasement attempt. “The coalition parties put up a smokescreen,” Christian Mihr, CEO of Reporter without Borders, said yesterday. The earlier critical comments from the parliamentary oversight body, Mihr said, were related to media “by-catch” effects (catching small fish along with the big fish in the net) resulting from the indiscriminate mass surveillance activities of the BND. The cases reported by Der Spiegel on the other hand are clear, targeted surveillance activities against journalists and editors. Reporters without Borders has announced the filing of a complaint before Germany’s constitutional court challenging the new BND law. The new law lacks protection for journalists which is required according to the German constitution. Martina Renner, head of the Left Party in the parliamentary inquiry of the German Parliament on the revelations of former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, said she hoped that many of the spied-on journalists would support the complaint of Reporters without Borders. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at email@example.com."Journalists Surveilled By German Intelligence Agency" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.