When a camera team of state TV channel ZDF showed up to film people as they were joining a pegida march, one man walked up to them and told them that they had no right to film his face. Because they did not stop filming, he went straight to some nearby police officers and complained that his right to his image and personal data was not respected. The policemen stopped the TV team and wrote down their personal information. The protester also filed a formal charge against them.
WELT reported that a man who was with him slapped some gear out of the hand of the reporters. Unfortunately, they left a link to the full video that shows their lie. Fair enough, they let some comments through from readers who had noticed it.
The fact that the camera team had to wait three-quarters of an hour was played up as a big scandal. “On what side is the police on, pegida or the press?”, was the question ZEIT and others asked. In a democracy nobody would even ask such a question. The police officers are supposed to enforce the law.
The law in question is the German ratification of the EU personal data protection directive which is so extreme that even mainstream American newspapers like the LA Times have stopped their online service in the EU because comment sections require some IP address storage to prevent DDoS attacks. My blog is certainly breaking the law as is any free WordPress site. It is impossible to follow German laws at this point because they are too many and too draconian. We have entered a lawless state.
But what decides what gets punished in a society where everybody is lawless? People who disagree with the mob of the majority get punished. For instance, conservative author Akif Pirincci is constantly punished for the most harmless comments while left-wing antisemite Jakob Augstein is free to call a kippa a provocation. This is the territory where only G-d can stabilize me. When all is forbidden, I can only hope to not break too many laws and I must follow a different set of rules. It is my psychological self-defence. I must be able to respect myself although the world has turned against me.
The data protection directive was, of course, thought to prevent the rise of a German version of Project Veritas or Rebel Media. If there were a rule of law in Germany, mainstream journalists would also be unable to work under these conditions.
And this is where the protester becomes dangerous. He obviously knew that the law applies to everybody equally. This is what makes him a threat. His insistence not to be filmed could have become common on right-wing gatherings all over the country.
The media therefore attacked the policemen who just did their job. Since that is not good enough to stop the wildfire, the Interior Ministry of the state of Saxony tweeted out on their official twitter account that the protester worked at the Office of Criminal Investigation LKA. If Germany were a democracy and respected the rule of law, that would surely be illegal. But, well, as I said, everything is legal and illegal. “Quod licet iovi non licet bovi,” as the Romans said.
Parliamentarians Ralf Stegner of the Social Democrats and Wolfgang Kubicki of the pseudo-libertarian party FDP demanded that the protester should face disciplinary consequences for protesting. Justice Minister Katharina Barley gave a press conference saying that she is worried. She is not worried about the man, but about the inconvenience of the reporter team that had to wait three-quarters of an hour.
Angela Merkel in her rare speaking roles let us know that "If one goes to a protest, you must expect to be recorded by the media." There were investigation [I assume against the police officers for bothering the reporters for some minutes]. "But I want to emphasize
At this point ZDF show “Frontal21” and a variety of news outlets have already shown the face of the man who didn’t want to be filmed many times. He will be a target of the larger mob.
I don’t know if they will go the length and directly punish him on his job, but enough damage is already done to him to intimidate the wider public anyway. His employer, the LKA, has started an investigation into the man. There are no formal charges and in a democracy it would surely be illegal for a government department to use ressources to "investigate" their own staff without charges - for participating in a protest march. At first the man was unavailable for the investigation, but his holiday has now been nixed.