Author Archives: cmihr

About cmihr

Since 2012, Christian Mihr has served as Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders Germany (RSF Germany). He is interested in communications surveillance and bypassing censorship, monitoring mechanisms of intelligence services, internet security, access to information laws, as well as any questions regarding freedom of the press and freedom of information. His countries of special expertise are Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Belarus, Russia and Azerbaijan. He is an active member on the Board of Trustees of the German Institute for Human Rights and an ex-officio member of the steering committee of the Internet Governance Forum in Germany. He previously lived and worked as a journalist and journalism teacher in Russia and Ecuador for several years and studied Journalism and Latin American studies in Eichstätt, Germany and in Santiago de Chile, Chile.

German intelligence reforms: will some journalists be more equal than others?

In a guest post for OJB, Christian Mihr explains how German plans to allow surveillance of foreign journalists represent a threat to reporters all over the world.

There is perhaps no author more quoted when it comes to surveillance than George Orwell, and his book 1984. The recently proposed reforms to Germany‘s Foreign Intelligence Service, BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), however, bear more resemblance to Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.

In the novel, farm animals drive their human masters away in hope of achieving democracy. But once the pigs of the farm seize power they become as tyrannical as the humans that came before them, proclaiming:

“All animals are equal – but some animals are more equal than others.”

Some journalists are more equal than others

Politicians are of course not pigs; however, this single principle of the pigs in Animal Farm seems to be the underlying assumption which led the German-ruling parties SPD and CDU/CSU (Social Democrats and the conservative Christian Democrats and Christian Socialists) to draft the new BND law, proposed at the end of June to the German public.

In the law, those more equal than others are not pigs, but rather German journalists. Continue reading