Freedom of the press, protest and democracy

– Classification at the start of COP28 –

One day before the start of the 28th World Climate Conference in Dubai, a decision by the Munich District Court became public: peaceful protest against government failure in the climate catastrophe justifies the interception of telephone calls with journalists and thus an enormous curtailment of press freedom.

Several affected journalists filed a complaint together with the Society for Civil Rights and Reporters Without Borders after the wiretapping scandal became public. In the first instance, these have now been rejected by the same court that originally approved the measure. 

The restriction of press freedom, the questioning and curtailing of the democratic right to protest, the exhausting or even exceeding of legal boundaries:
All of this strengthens us because it shows that we are successfully and unignorably putting our finger on the wound, repeatedly bringing the government's failure in the climate catastrophe into the public debate and generating political and social pressure.

At the same time, we are shocked and outraged by the overreaction of the Munich district court. The approach creates uncertainty and, not least, serves to intimidate, which is transferred to the climate justice movement as a whole and thereby severely restricts people's basic rights and political participation. We see our democracy damaged here.

All of this at a time when civic engagement is more important than ever. At COP28, which officially starts today, the final phase-out of fossil fuels by all countries must de facto be decided in order to even begin to meet the Paris goals that are binding under international law.

The conditions for this are miserable. Not only are numerous lobbyists for oil, gas and coal represented again. The host himself, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, is the acting managing director of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the 1th largest oil company in the world. Even before the conference began, there were increasing signs that he wanted to use the COP as a lobby event for the fossil fuel industry. [XNUMX]

Every year, the hope for the international body that brings together a wide range of scientific expertise, political decision-making power and financial resources in one place is crushingly disappointed.

Hope alone is no longer enough, because: “The window of opportunity in which a livable and sustainable future can be secured for everyone is rapidly closing.” 

There needs to be determined protest and growing pressure from the population: worldwide, peaceful, disruptive, unignorable. The attempt to delegitimize and criminalize the protest was and is predictable.

It remains to be seen whether our democracy can withstand the stress test caused by politicians and the judiciary convulsively clinging to the status quo in the escalating climate catastrophe. We will continue to fight for our democracy and a safe, livable future for everyone. We appeal to political leaders to do the same.

[1] “Bock turned into a gardener”: Head of the climate conference used meetings for oil deals –