5. Why are foreigners protesting before a German court?
The only way to curb the excessive power of the BND is to lodge a formal constitutional complaint against the law. The organisations involved have taken the initiative and are supporting the plaintiffs by lodging a constitutional complaint and meeting the legal costs.
The plaintiffs are mainly investigative journalists from various countries, including many renowned journalists, such as the winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize Khadija Ismayilova (from Azerbaijan), Raúl Olmos (from Mexico), Blaž Zgaga (from Slovenia) and Richard Norton-Taylor (from Great Britain). The plaintiffs also include the German human rights lawyer Michael Mörth, who is working in Guatemala, and the French human rights organisation Reporters Sans Frontières. It is highly probable that the nature of their work makes their communications “interesting” for the BND and that their communication with colleagues and sources is affected by the law and that the information contained in it may be passed on by the BND to international intelligence services. This represents a direct threat for the plaintiffs and their informants and thus constitutes a risk for fundamental and human rights worldwide.
Apparently the political will was lacking to furnish the law with sufficient protection for journalists when it was drafted – despite multiple interventions by civil society. The legal channel is thus the only one still open.