German authorities have dropped a treason investigation against a news website, saying that the secrets it leaked did not threaten national security.
The probe focussed on Netzpolitik.org which had published documents detailing plans to step up state surveillance of online communications.
Despite the end of the treason probe, the blog’s editor-in-chief says many questions remain.
Pointing to the sacking of the federal prosecutor at the forefront of the inquiry amid a row that rocked Germany’s political establishment, Markus Beckedahl said:“Lots of other people must have been behind the decision to start this investigation.”
The allegation of treason against journalists prompted widespread outrage.
Privacy is an especially sensitive issue in Germany after the extensive surveillance by the Communist East’s Stasi secret police and by the Gestapo in the Nazi era.
The Netzpolitik case has echoes of the 1962 ‘Spiegel Affair’, a Cold War-era scandal widely seen as a landmark in ensuring freedom of the media in post-war Germany.