Laureate 2007: Dr Wolfram Weimer

Dr. Wolfram Weimer

Dr Wolfram Weimer
filed a lawsuit at the German Federal Constitutional Court as editor in chief of Cicero magazine in order to obtain a ruling against the weakening of the freedom of the press. He was editor in chief of Cicero.

After a report on terrorists in which Cicero quoted from an internal document of the Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police Office), law enforcement authorities searched the editorial office as well as a flat of one employee of Cicero in 2005. This action, encouraged and supported by the then German Minister of Internal Affairs Otto Schily, was justified with the accusation of betrayal of state secrets.

Two courts rejected Weimer's complaint, only the Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Constitutional Court) agreed with his complaint on February. The judges decided that the mere publication of a state secret by the press is not sufficient for a shakedown of editorial offices. It is only legal if there is clear evidence that a journalist has aided and abetted the breach of secrecy and that a person pledged to secrecy has intended the publication. Constitutionally prohibited are "searches and seizures in an investigation against members of the press if they are used exclusively or mainly for the purpose of determining the informant."

"This is a decision which means more legal certainty to investigative journalism. It also strengthens freedom of press in a time in which it is increasingly limited due to perceived or actual security concerns", said Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Foundation.

In 2010, Weimer was editor in chief of Focus magazine for a short while. In 2012, he founded the Weimer Media Group which publishes several kinds of business media. Moreover, Weimer runs a blog at: