Federal Administrative Court negotiates deletion of Facebook comments at MDR

With a view to the Telemedia State Treaty, the MDR must therefore ensure that only those comments remain that are thematically closely related to the original post. In the present case, the Higher Administrative Court of Bautzen explicitly pointed out in its decision that the disputed comments were not related to the topic.

The plaintiff ultimately took the case to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig – which now has to decide whether it comes to the same conclusion as the lower court or whether the comments should not have been deleted after all.

Netiquette should enable diversity of opinion

The procedure is of great importance for the MDR. It should prove to be groundbreaking for the future handling of dialogue forums, said a spokesman for the MDR.

“It is important to the MDR that spaces for discourse are created for the users in the dialogue forums, in which the MDR through its editorial offices ensures that every user can move around in these spaces safely and without worries.” This only works if rules such as netiquette apply to the use of these rooms, compliance with these rules is monitored and consequences can be drawn in the event of non-compliance. The MDR spokesman went on to say that these rules and the editorial support of the forums ultimately serve to enable freedom of expression and diversity of opinion for everyone.

MDR netiquette also means that online comments must always relate to the topic of the reporting. “Comments that do not belong to this topic hinder the discourse and further dialogue, because then the actual topic can no longer be discussed. That in turn deters other users,” said a spokesman for the MDR.

The plaintiff is represented by an online law firm. When asked, she did not comment on the procedure. It is unclear whether the Federal Administrative Court will also make a judgment on Wednesday.