Blinkfüer decision

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In German jurisprudence, the Blinkfüer decision is a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) of February 26, 1969 in which the BVerfG deals with the importance of freedom of the press for the competition of opinions.


The Blinkfüer (1952–1969, 13), which was published temporarily by Ernst Aust , and which is Low German for Blinklicht , was a Hamburg weekly newspaper that also included the GDR television program in its television supplement. After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 , Axel Springer Verlag and Verlag der Welt , which had a dominant position on the newspaper and magazine market , asked the Hamburg newspaper dealers not to sell any more newspapers that printed “East Zone radio and television programs”. In order to emphasize the demand, Springer threatened that otherwise one might have to break off business relations with these dealers. After the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) had dismissed a civil law action by the publisher of Blinkfüer, the latter filed a constitutional complaint . The BVerfG overturned the BGH judgment.

Summary of the decision

First of all, the Senate states that a call for a boycott is also fundamentally covered by freedom of expression . This is especially true if there is an intellectual battle of opinion in public that affects political, economic, social or cultural concerns of the general public (see Lüth judgment ). Even an economic imbalance does not make such a call for a boycott appear inadmissible, because otherwise economically stronger people would not be able to take part in disputes. However, a call for a boycott is no longer protected by Article 5.1 of the Basic Law if it is not only based on arguments, but also if economic pressure is exerted. This was the case with the request to the newsagents. Such a boycott call can therefore not invoke freedom of expression. At the same time, the BGH judgment was an interference with the freedom of the press. Freedom of the press also means that the press must be protected from attempting to eliminate competition of opinion through economic pressure.

For the reasons

"If the defendants had expressed their opinion on the publication of the Central German broadcast programs in public, for example in the papers they published, and had limited themselves to calling on the readers to boycott the newspapers and magazines in question, there would be nothing constitutionally against this procedure object. Then the defendants, who have made public interests their own, would have turned to those concerned. On the other hand, their circular addressed to the newspaper and magazine dealers was unsuitable for causing an intellectual dispute about the admissibility and appropriateness of the publication of the programs of Central German stations in public because these addressees were economically or legally dependent on the defendants. [...]
The goal of freedom of the press, to facilitate and guarantee the formation of free public opinion, therefore requires the press to be protected against attempts to eliminate the competition of opinions by means of economic pressure. "

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVerfGE 25, 256 to 269, Az. 1 BvR 619/63.