Press Criminal Law/Media Criminal Law

The fundamental right of freedom of the press and the right to freedom of opinion are safeguarded by our Basic Law. However, these fundamental freedoms do not apply without restriction, because they are limited by the constitution itself and by laws. These include, for example, the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB), but also the state press laws at the level of the federal states, which in turn refer to the German Criminal Code, for example. In the area of criminal law relating to the press, copyright law is also of practical relevance.

Journalists not infrequently face accusations, especially in the context of information gathering and publication,

  • unauthorized image or sound recordings (§ 201 StGB),
  • a trespass (§ 123 StGB),
  • a stalking, coercion (§ 240 StGB) or even stalking
  • .

to have committed. Not inconsiderable criminal risks also exist in connection with the publication of text and image contributions. The published media institutions can quickly expose themselves to the accusation of having violated copyright regulations or regulations on the protection of the right to one's own image. Of particular practical relevance here are, for example, § 22 et seq. KUG in the case of the legitimate production of photos or videos. In addition, there is a "whole bouquet" of criminal charges that play a role in the context of press criminal law, such as charges of

  • of forgery of documents (§ 267 StGB),
  • of corruption offenses (for example, bribery, § 331 et seq. StGB),
  • of paparazzi stalking (§ 238 StGB)
  • .

  • of telephone and cyberstalking (§ 238 StGB) and
  • .

  • with regard to honor crimes (for example, insult, libel, defamation, etc.).

We advise journalists, publishers, authors, etc., investigative journalists, etc. in press criminal charges. Particularly in view we have the relevant criminal procedural norms such as the right to refuse to testify for journalists / media members (§ 52 para 1 No. 5 StPO) as well as practically significant search restrictions, special search restrictions (§ § 103, 104, 105 StPO), etc..

If you or your company have been the victim or accused of press-related criminal offenses in the broader sense, e.g. as a public figure or celebrity, we will advise you in a comprehensible, factually versed and practice-oriented manner.