3. Journalists in Criminal Trials
Journalists in particular are highly dependent on participating personally in the proceedings on which they wish to report. In its decision on the reallocation of seats in the NSU trial, the Federal Constitutional Court expressly stated that the solution favoured by the Higher Regional Court of Munich of allocating the 50 seats reserved for press representatives according to the priority principle was in itself lawful. Then, however, it must also be ensured that everyone has the same chances. In any case, the Constitutional Court regarded this principle as so endangered that it considered a new allocation of seats to be advisable. If it had remained with the initial situation, Turkish-speaking media would not have been given a place, they would have been denied the “possibility of their own reporting drawn from the epitome of the main hearing”. That would have been not least therefore of special importance, as straight Turkish medium representatives had a special interest in a completely independent reporting about this process, since numerous victims of the accused acts of Turkish origin are and in the Turkish population just like in Turkey a correspondingly large need for information exists.
The partially proposed possibility of transferring the proceedings before the Munich Higher Regional Court to another area within the court is very problematic from a legal point of view. According to the wording of § 169 S. 2 GVG, it is not prohibited. The transfer to another room of the court can be practised, e.g. in cases in which the accused is removed from the courtroom to protect witnesses or co-defendants. § 247 StPO only stipulates that, in the event of removal from the courtroom after his return, the accused must be informed of everything that took place in his absence. In the opinion of the Federal Court of Justice, however, such information can also be provided by simultaneous video transmission. However, there is no obligation to do so or even a claim to it.
The Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Munich blocked this proposal because the defence should be offered as few starting points as possible to justify an appeal. A rush decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, as requested by some joint plaintiffs, remained unsuccessful – however, less for substantive than for formal reasons. The reason why the Constitutional Court did not have to deal with the actual question of the legality of a video transmission to another room was that the joint plaintiffs as such were not entitled to bring about a decision on this question. Unlike the interested public, they do not have to fear that they will not be given a place. Because they are themselves parties to the proceedings with their own attendance rights.