»We found a provider in Iceland«

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09.04.2010 / Inland / Page 2

»We found a provider in Iceland«

German police shuts down website of Autonome Antifa Freiburg without court ruling. An inteview with Nicola Pantera

Interview: Gitta Düperthal

Nicola Pantera is member of the Autonome Antifa Freiburg

The Autonome Antifa Freiburg recently changed to an Icelandic server. What caused your decision to change your provider?

The police forced our former German provider to shut down our website without a judicial decision and without informing the public prosecution department. The reason was first of all a call to participate in a demonstration, that we did not register with the authorities, against Neo-Nazis masked. The first reason was that we called out for a demonstration against Neo-Nazis that was not registered by the authorities, we also recommended that participants conceal their identity (e.g. wearing masks). The Neo-Nazis recently planned a bomb attack and were trying to spy on their political enemies – which we were able to uncover. The Second reason was the the Police Chief in Freiburg felt insulted that we demanded on our website that the “hated bizzie boss” should be dismissed. The incriminated sentences were: »No one likes Heiner. Amann has to go« (»Keiner mag Heiner. Amann muß weg«).

How did the police manage to force the site to be shut down?

Freiburg police requested administrative assistance from the Berlin police. Officers were at the door of our provider JPBerlin and threatened to prosecute them as an accomplice (»co-disquieter«). They used administrative law to enforce political censorship.

How is that possible?

The »disturbance liability« is part of the administrative law intended to put an end to conditions which cause or abet a disturbance. In this case, the disturbance was insulting the Police chief. The action taken by the police was merely meant to intimidate the provider.

It is by no means clear how a court would rule in this case. First of all, it had to be checked if it is de facto an insult and if the call for masking is liable to prosecution in this particular case. There are current court rulings that concealing ones identity from Nazis, and not from the Police, are allowed – this was our line of argumentation. For a provider such a trial could threaten the company's existence so they shut down our website.

You have declared sarcastically: Censorship doesn’t happen, but it works. How do you mean that?

As a matter of fact, we had to bend to censorship frequently and delete similar statements on our website. We quoted Heinrich Heine on »censorship« instead. It was a new thing that we did not have time to think about a reaction as the website was rigorously deactivated.

You then contacted an Icelandic Provider?

We quite simply looked for an Icelandic Provider and found »1984.is«. The name is deliberately chosen after George Orwells book about the surveillance state. The company wants to express that it acts against surveillance and for data protection. We contacted the provider in English – and moved with out site to Iceland.

In which way does the Icelandic media law guarantee more freedom than the German one?

It has not yet passed, but on the 25th of February, the Reykjavík parliament unanimously created a commission to check the legislative proposal. The people in Iceland are sceptical for good reasons, because some important information were withheld during the financial and economical crisis. For example, in the middle of 2009 a document of the »Kaupþing Bank« was published on “wikileaks.org” about unsecured credit allocations for major shareholders of the bank and the large-scale flight of capital in the days running up to the financial collapse. A news item from the prime time news broadcasts of RÚV TV about the document was blocked by a preliminary injunction initiated by the bank. This motivated the »Icelandic Modern Media Initiative« to propose a new Icelandic media law.