Internet censorship in Germany

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Internet censorship in Germany is practiced by law as well as the effect of some court decisions. An example of content censored by law is the removal of web sites from Google search results that deny the holocaust, which is a felony under German law.

In June 2009, the Bundestag passed the Access Impediment Act or Zugangserschwerungsgesetz[1] that introduced Internet blocking of sites found to distribute child pornography.[2][3] Against the backdrop of an intense political debate, the law did not come into force until federal elections in September 2009 changed the setup of the governing coalition. In talks between the new governing parties CDU and FDP, it was agreed that no blocking would be implemented for one year, focusing on take-down efforts instead. After one year the success of the deletion policy would be reviewed.[4] The governing parties ultimately decided in April 2011 to repeal the law altogether.[5]

Most cases of Internet censorship in Germany, however, occur after state court rulings. One example is a 2009 court order, forbidding German Wikipedia to disclose the identity of Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber, two criminals convicted of the murder of the Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr. In another case, (an Internet domain run by Wikimedia Deutschland) was prohibited from pointing to the actual Wikipedia content. The court order was as a temporary injunction in a case filed by politician Lutz Heilmann over claims in a German Wikipedia article regarding his past involvement with the former German Democratic Republic's intelligence service Stasi.[6]

The first known case of Internet censorship in Germany occurred in 1996, when the Verein zur Förderung eines Deutschen Forschungsnetzes banned some IP addresses from Internet access.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gesetz zur Erschwerung des Zugangs zu kinderpornographischen Inhalten in Kommunikationsnetzen (German) (Act for impeding access to child pornography content in communications networks).
  2. ^ "Kabinett beschließt Netzsperren gegen Kinderpornos" (German) (Cabinet approves blocking against child pornography), Pressestelle Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (Press Office Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology), 22 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Namentliche Abstimmung: Bekämpfung von Kinderpornografie" (German) (Roll-call vote: combating child pornography), 18 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. Archived June 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "New German government reaches key internet security agreements", Neil King, Deutsche Welle, 15 October 2009.
  5. ^ German Internet blocking law to be withdrawn, EDRi-gram newsletter, European Digital Rights, 6 April 2011.
  6. ^ Efroni, Zohar (16 November 2008). "German Court Orders to Block Due to Offending Article". Center for Internet and Society Blog. Stanford University Law School. Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  7. ^ (German)