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Science Journalists Taking German Environment Ministry To Court For Defamation, Violating Neutrality

Pierre Goslin, No Tricks Zone

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung reports the latest development on theUmweltbundesamt (UBA) scandal.

Recently Germany’s version of the Environmental Protection Agency (UBA) published a 120-page brochure that publicly named and branded renowned skeptic US and German journalists and scientists because they “did not conform to the level of climate science knowledge“.

Two of the science journalists named in the UBA brochure are Michael Miersch, editor at FOCUS, and Dirk Maxeiner. The Süddeutsche Zeitung asks in its commentary whether it’s okay “for the state to publicly brand them” and if it is “the function of a state agency to grade the work of journalists and to do so publicly?

Journalists suing Environment Ministry

The Süddeutsche Zeitung writes that the story has now entered the legal phase, with journalists Michael Miersch and Dirk Maxeiner suing the German Environment Ministry for refusing to cease and desist distributing the controversial brochure. The Süddeutsche writes:

They are taking the matter to court because the agency has refused to sign a cease and desist declaration, and is continuing to distribute the brochure in the Internet. He doesn’t want to be ‘officially stamped as not serious‘, saidMiersch. Moreover, the science journalist is annoyed that the agency wants to end the debate on climate change: ‘Declaring a debate ended goes against the spirit of science. Anyone who says that the end of the debate has been reached is peddling theology.’”

Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, whose Ministry oversees the UBA, defended the brochure. The Süddeutsche Zeitung quotes Altmaier insisting that the Ministry “is not imposing any thought, speech, writing or other ban.” Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told Welt am Sonntag that he saw “no reason for criticism” and: “We are simply saying that from time to time there are positions that do not agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists.”

Bad enough that Altmaier doesn’t see anything false with wrongly ruining reputations, but he also appears totally misinformed here. Perhaps someone forgot to tell him about all the scientific papers out there showing that the science is more disputed than ever, and that Cook’s 97% consensus-claiming paper is fatally flawed. One has to wonder about Altmaier‘s information supply. […]

German Association Of Journalists demands apology

Finally the German Association of Journalists demands an apology from Minister Altmaier, writing:

A state agency in Germany does not have the authority to brand critics of government policy as heretics and that Peter Altmaier “stop the distribution of the brochure in its current form and to apologise to the journalists named in the pamphlet.”

The pressure is mounting.

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