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Germany January 19, 2006
H.E. Angela Merkel
Federal Republic of Germany
The Overseas Press Club of America, which has been monitoring freedom-of-the-press issues around the world for more than sixty six years, is concerned about the status of the case filed last year against the magazine, Cicero and its reporter, Bruno Schirra.
Under Germany ‘s previous government, Cicero and Schirra were accused of “betraying state secrets” under the German penal code. Both the offices of Cicero and Mr. Schirra’s home were raided by police. These actions apparently stemmed from an article by Mr. Schirra in the April edition of Cicero — drawing on dossiers of the Federal Criminal Police Office, as well as on Western and Jordanian intelligence agencies. The article reported the goals of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, whose Al Tawhid organization is typically described as an “affiliate” of Al Qaeda.
From our vantage point in the United States , the Cicero case has similarities to the New York Times /Judith Miller case. In both instances, journalists published confidential material provided by government sources. It was senior government officials who breached security, not journalists. But instead of going after the talkative officials, prosecutors apparently decided to shoot the messengers…the journalists who were doing a proper job of informing the public.
We would like to know if the new German government intends to continue this prosecution. We strongly believe that to do so would be a violation of the rights of a free press, and would have a chilling effect on the necessary work of our German colleagues.
Freedom of the Press Committee
Ambassador of Germany to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
4645 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington , DC 20007
Fax: (202) 298-4249
Ambassador Gunter Pleuger
Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany
to the United Nations
871 United Nations Plaza
New York , NY 10017
Fax: (212) 940-0402
William R. Timken, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany
Embassy of the United States of America – Germany
PSC 120, Box 1000
APO AE 09265
Fax: (011.49.30) 8305-1215