Are tabloids ruining people's lives

Child porn allegations: May the "Bild" report on Metzelder like that?

The FDP politician and lawyer Wolfgang Kubicki is angry when he speaks about the "Christoph Metzelder case" on Sandra Maischberger's talk show late on Wednesday evening. "Outrageous" he calls the reporting on the former national soccer player, against whom the Hamburg public prosecutor's office is investigating on suspicion of spreading child pornography.

Kubicki, who met Metzelder several times, was obviously particularly annoyed by them picture, which had reported on its front page - including non-pixelated photos and attribution. The public prosecutor's office affirmed an initial suspicion, said Kubicki. You must now determine logically. "But the fact that a newspaper so big already pretends that it has been proven takes my shoes off."

FDP politician Kubicki: The presumption of innocence applies

Kubicki is not alone with his criticism. In this case, the Hamburg attorney Gül Pinar, a member of the criminal law committee of the German Bar Association, takes an even stricter position. In an interview with our editorial team, she doubts that Metzelder should have been reported at all: he was not prominent enough for the public interest to justify identifying reporting - if it were a politician, however, it would be different in her opinion. "What always strikes us is that in such cases an assessment of evidence is not reserved for the courts, but is carried out through the media," she says. A suspicion reporting is always a problem, as there is a risk of prejudice. Gül Pinar appeals to journalists to report particularly carefully.

The Erlangen media ethics professor Christian Schicha also criticized in an interview with our editorial team: "What the picture and other tabloids are highly problematic. "The picture be on duty with several reporters and report extensively, continuously and on every detail. "The reporting almost creates the fatal impression that Metzelder has committed a criminal act, although a possible guilt has in no way been proven, but initially there is an initial suspicion." In any case, the presumption of innocence should also be referred to in the reporting, he recommends.

Kubicki, Pinar and Schicha emphasize in great agreement that Metzelder is already "done": "No matter how the matter turns out - Christoph Metzelder's reputation will be damaged in the long term even if he is not guilty," says Schicha. In general, he considers reporting to be justified in this case - it just has to be serious.

Media ethicist: "Christoph Metzelder's reputation will be damaged in the long term"

Hendrik Zörner, press spokesman for the German Association of Journalists, also sees it this way. That the picture reports on the allegations against professional footballer Metzelder are "completely legitimate," he explains on request. "The fact that she does this with full credit from the first story, however, amounts to a prejudice. Journalists are reporters and not judges."

Lawyers particularly lack understanding that picture- According to a Tagesspiegel report, journalists "not only stuck weeks ago" that Metzelder is said to have sent child pornographic images to a friend in Hamburg via WhatsApp chat, they also accompanied the searches at his home in Düsseldorf and on Tuesday brought the ex-kicker from the sports school in Hennef ".

Was there a counter-deal here based on the motto tip against tip? In any case, a spokesman for the Hamburg police confirmed to Tagesspiegel that the picture-Newspaper reported the suspicion - not the recipient of the pictures. In judicial circles, one feels reminded of the arrest of the former Post boss Klaus Zumwinkel, who was arrested in front of the cameras on Valentine's Day 2008.

The majority of journalists undisputed that Metzelder may or must be reported on. However, paragraph 13 of the press code, to which most newspapers adhere, reminds them: "The principle of the presumption of innocence also applies to the press." The purpose of reporting on investigations and court proceedings is to provide the public with careful information. The prerequisite for this is, among other things: a well-founded suspicion based on carefully researched facts. In addition, a language that remains as factual as possible, is not scandalous or sensational.

The picture himself made this a topic in an article. It ends with the sentence: "If you decide to report, you have to pay attention to balance."

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