Nobody in Germany is allowed to be photographed against his wishes – that is the result of the constitutionally protected general right to privacy. However because a general ban would be out of proportion, there are exceptions. Thus, according to § 23 under the copyright law, persons are by all means allowed to be photographed as accessories in locations/sites. And also photography is allowed at public events such as rallies as long as no detailed images of single individuals are produced.
This fact, however, appears not to have been passed around to the Munich administrative court. A chamber there confirmed the photo ban issued by the City of Munich against the citizens’ rights FREEDOM Party and their critical rallies regarding the radical islamic ZIE-M (Center of Islam for Europe – Munich). The Bavarian chapter under Michael Stürzenberger is, according to the wishes of the judges, generally not to take any more photographs of counter-demonstrators and not to be able to document the hate striking out against him. What’s absurd: the counter-demonstrators are still allowed to photograph whenever they wish.
In addition, the court decided that Stürzenberger may no longer speak at the demonstrations [with an amplification] louder than 85 decibels and for more than ten minutes at a time. The reason given for this was complaints by the Café operators who got upset over the volume. That a basic right such as free assembly accompanies the limitation of others, and that Stürzenberger often changes the location of the rally, is something that apparently played no role with the judges who are elected by the established parties. The explosive potential of political Islam, however, much more…
The leftist “Süddeutsche Zeitung” writes:
It is a serious defeat for Michael Stürzenberger: The administrative court blessed the current list of conditions put on Stürzenberger for his rallies against the mosque project ZIEM. The right-wing populist “Freedom” party, whose state president he is, is no longer to film or photograph counter-demonstrators in their upcoming demonstrations in Munich. In addition, the noise level at the meetings may not exceed the 85-decibel limit. Besides this, Stürzenberger must put down the megaphone every ten minutes for ten minutes.
Stürzenberger has mobilized his anti-islamic rallies for months against the ZIEM mosque project and is gathering signatures against it. In the future, he will have to abide by the strict conditions.
The district court based these most of all on the numerous complaints by residents and business people at those places where “Freedom” usually appears. Thus, the café operators at Marienplatz, for example, turned to the city because the guests and employees among them had complained about the loud verbal attacks by Stürzenberger that they were forced to listen to.
Stürzenberger considers the limitations illegal. He himself would like to speak at a “comfortable volume,” he said before the court. Since he usually is “shouted down” by counter-demonstrators and the police allows this, he is forced to become loud.
The photography ban was strongly debated. For many months, photos and films of counter-demonstrators have appeared on influential, islamophobic websites. Stürzenberger argued most of all against the prohibition against photographing politicians that argued with him or alleged troublemakers at his rallies. He must be allowed to document this.
The city, to the contrary, held up the privacy right of those photographed, among whom were many non-prominent individuals, and the worry of counter-demonstrators. They have to fear being exposed in images and with disparaging comments on the Internet.
The district court agreed with this argumentation. Even during the trial, the presiding judge stated that Stürzenberger’s procedure violated the rights of her own image.
Stürzenberger announced immediately after the judgement that he would appeal. The legal battle can be supported with donations to the following account:
» Welt: ‘“Die Freiheit” darf Gegendemonstranten nicht filmen‘
» Abendzeitung: ‘München: “Freiheit” muss leise bleiben‘
Addendum: In a previous version, PI wrote that the FREEDOM Party was also not allow to take pictures at their own rally. This is incorrect. We apologize for the error.
Posted by PI / Translation: Anders Denken