Lawsuit over Afghanistan leaks 'infringement of free expression'
Art Law

Lawsuit over Afghanistan leaks ‘infringement of free expression’

Germany’s government has sued a newspaper alliance for publishing confidential documents. One paper’s editorial team was accused of copyright infringement. Arne Semsrott calls it an "infringement of free expression." Comprised of 5,000 pages of internal documents labeled as confidential, the "Afghanistan papers" were German’s first data leak. In 2012, parliamentary briefings were passed on to the editorial team of the Essen-based newspaper "Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung" (WAZ). The documents contained reports on the Afghanistan War written for the defense committee of Germany’s parliament. The publication made it clear that German soldiers in Afghanistan’s crisis regions faced greater risks than openly admitted to the public. The German government sued Funke-Mediengruppe, the owners of WAZ, over copyright infringement. WAZ removed the documents from its website but has already lodged appeals against two court decisions. The appeal proceedings will be held at the Federal Court of Germany and a decision is expected on June 1. Arne Semsrott manages the website "" ("Ask the State"), which is a project run by the German branch of the Open Knowledge Foundation and advocates public access to information from state authorities. DW: Mr. Semsrott, you have been following the case since the beginning. Why is the government […]


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