After obtaining a court order to stop the website “xtranews.de” publishing 43 documents, which run to more than 300 pages, the city government gave up its fight after several other internet sites published the files, rendering the court order useless.
The dissemination of the reports could no longer be prevented, a city official said.
Xtranews.de boss Thomas Rodenbücher said it was a “victory for social community, for the internet as a whole, that you can no longer cover things up.”
Twenty-one young people died at the Love Parade festival on July 24 after massive crowds were herded through a tight tunnel and the build-up of pressure sparked panic followed by a deadly crush.
The city had obtained a suppression order from a Cologne court on Tuesday on the grounds of copyright and because the documents contained personal data that should not have been published.
Among the documents is the appendix to a 32-page interim report on the city’s responsibility for the techno festival compiled by a Düsseldorf law firm.
The report itself was given to the North Rhine-Westphalian state legislature’s interior committee and had been published on the city government’s own website, though without the confidential appendix.
Mayor Adolf Sauerland, under heavy fire for refusing to resign over the tragedy, has also faced simmering anger over his attempts to control information.
For example, the city refused for weeks even to confirm it had hired former Focus magazine journalist Karl-Heinz Steinkühler as a media adviser. The mayor’s office finally acknowledged that a media and political consultant had been brought in, but even then refused to reveal the name of the person.