Big German papers miss out on Nazi trial seats
Several major German news outlets failed on Monday to secure seats at the trial of a suspected neo-Nazi terrorist. The Association of German Journalists criticized the selection process, saying it undermined the trial's importance.
A second draw for places at the trial of Beate Zschäpe – alleged key member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) – took place behind closed doors on Monday, after the constitutional court ruled that foreign media outlets which had missed out on accreditation first time round must be guaranteed seats.
Major newspapers including the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, Die Tageszeitung and Stern did not secure places. Neither did news agencies Reuters, Associated Press nor Agence France-Presse.
Editor-in-chief of Die Tageszeitung, which secured a seat last time but lost out this time, tweeted that she was considering launching an official appeal for journalists to be able to watch the trial via video-streaming.
The 50 available places were divided among news agencies (5 seats), foreign media (10 seats) and German media (35 seats). Four places were reserved for Turkish media. Unlike the first allocation process, journalists can choose to give away their seats to colleagues.
Zschäpe's trial begins on May 6th and for the second draw 324 journalists and media outlets applied for seats – three more than the first time.
One of the seats reserved for Turkish media was secured by the Sabah newspaper, which launched the constitutional appeal against the initial awarding of seats after taking place on a first-come-first-served basis.
Karl Huber, president of Munich's Upper Regional court said Monday that the lottery for seats had been fair and equitable and criticised what he characterized as “attacks” on the court in the past few weeks.
But Michael Konken, President of the German Association of Journalists, said it was incomprehensible to him that some of the most important national media outlets would not be able to report on the trial.