German government shuts down Indymedia

The German interior minister Thomas de Maizière today ordered the site linksunten.indymedia.org to be taken down. Three people have been served with court orders and rooms have been searched. Computers and other material were confiscated. The order states that the site is »by its intention and practice in violation of the law«.

The site is part of the international indymedia open posting platform that was established in the early 2000s. In recent years, linksunten (literally »bottom left«, due to its geographical location in Freiburg in the south-west corner of Germany) has been one of the more active indymedia sites, with many communiques and radical discussions having been published.

During the recent protests against the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, linksunten was a platform for extensive discussions about protest activities and tactics. It also introduced a Twitter-like messaging service. Since then, politicians have been calling for the Hamburg social centre »Rote Flora« to be shut down.

The current annual report of the German political spy agency describes it like this: »›linksunten.indymedia‹ has become the most important medium of violent left extremism. For years it has offered a forum for reports about extreme left-wing agitation and criminal activity, mostly without distancing itself.«

The authorities are treating the web site as a »society«, which enables them to enforce the shutdown notice. In how far this construct will stand up in court remains to be seen.

The take-down is also to be seen in the context of the upcoming federal election on 24 September. De Maizière told media in the aftermath of the G20 protest that Germany needed »a hard line against left-wing extremism, as well as right-wing extremism«.

Source: Indymedia Aotearoa / RedGlobe

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