Ban on linksunten.indymedia.org: outings have increased

Postings now move to sister site "de.indymedia.org". Berlin police are investigating the publication of photos of police officers.

Protest against the ban on linksunten in October 2017 in Frankfurt am Main Photo: imago/Tim Wagner

Shortly before Christmas, the photos were on the web: On the site de.indymedia.org, autonomists published more than 50 photos of police officers who were allegedly involved in the eviction of houses on Rigaer Strabe in Berlin-Friedrichshain. "In addition to participating in the eviction, they can be held responsible without hesitation for the violence of the three weeks of siege," the text added. "We welcome information on where they live or can be found privately."

This posting was probably the most sensational action that has been posted on the sister site de.indymedia.org since the closure of linksunten.indymedia.org – and which would probably have been made public on linksunten until August. Both platforms were or are part of the worldwide Indymedia network, which was founded in 1999 by globalization critics and has regional branches in many countries.

In German-speaking countries, there was first de.indymedia.org, but after internal disputes, especially over the outing of right-wingers, activists from southern Germany split off in 2009 and founded their own portal, which moderated the anonymous postings to a lesser extent. Criteria for this were kept quite vague publicly. Since the dispute, autonomous groups have mainly used linksunten to post confessions, outings or appeals.

Now there is clearly a migration movement. Activists from the environment of linksunten do not want to comment at the moment. But those of their sister site do: "After the closure of linksunten, we decided to bring the radical left back to the fore," a Hamburg activist from de.indymedia.org told the taz. "Outings and calls from radical left contexts have increased, a part migrates to us."

Real-time surveillance is going on anyway

Concrete figures will be available in about half a year, said the activist, who does not want to read his name in the newspaper. While there is still stricter moderation than on linksunten regarding outings or the publication of action statements, there are fewer criteria that have to be met, he said. "We are one hundred percent in solidarity with linksunten and think it’s good and right that parts of the scene are posting with us again."

The activist said he was not worried that the surveillance of de.indymedia.org would now also increase significantly because of such postings. "We have always been monitored in real time anyway and with all technical means."

Hamburg Indymedia activist

"We are one hundred percent in solidarity with linksunten"

Berlin police spokesman Winfried Wenzel confirmed that de.indymedia.org is now also under investigation. In connection with the postings of the photos of the police officers, the LKA Berlin had initiated investigations for the violation of the right to one’s own image of the police officers and for public incitement to commit crimes. The investigations are being conducted against unknown persons, but "Indymedia is clearly the focus of the investigations," said Wenzel. He could not say anything about the status of the investigations at the moment. However, the investigations are "a challenge": "It is an open secret that their server structures are not as trivial as we would like.

The Hamburg Indymedia activist is correspondingly relaxed. It is important to him that solidarity for linksunten increases. "So far, it’s all been a bit meager," he says. "But they desperately need money for destroyed hardware and procedural costs." He also says it’s problematic that many left-wing groups are increasingly using commercial channels like Facebook or Twitter to draw attention to their actions. "That can be monitored at any time and much more easily," he says. There is not yet a site that completely takes over the function of linksunten, he said. "But we’d like it if there were more regional offshoots of Indymedia that could also do regional politics."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *