Even confidential discussions: Merkel has to disclose meetings with journalists

Even for the Chancellor, private background discussions with journalists are part of everyday political life. In a judgment, the Berlin Administrative Court demands more transparency about these meetings. The government fears that the so-called background talks will no longer be possible in the future.

The Berlin administrative court obliges the Federal Chancellery to provide information about so-called background discussions with journalists. The reported the “Tagesspiegel”, which had sued himself. In background discussions, politicians give selected journalists confidential insights into government business without having to pay attention to precise formulations or possible faux pas.

The Federal Chancellery is required by the judgment of the administrative court to provide information about the background discussions with journalists from 2016. According to the “Tagesspiegel”, the talks were about “particularly controversial political issues such as the refugee crisis, Brexit and how to deal with the AfD”.

This includes information on time and place, the participating media representatives and specific information that was shared. The ruling is based on the media’s right to information from federal authorities, but is not yet legally binding, an appeal is possible.

During the trial, the federal government threatened that a successful lawsuit would mean the end of the background talks. This would make confidential relationships with third parties impossible for the Chancellor.


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