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Carlsbad Decrees: Confederal Press Law (September 20, 1819)

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The Confederal Assembly should furthermore be authorized – without previous request, on its own authority, via a pronouncement from which there shall be no appeal – to suppress publications coming under the main provision of § 1 that have come to its attention, in whatever German state they might appear, when such, according to the commission it has appointed, run counter to the dignity of the Confederation, the security of individual Confederal states or the maintenance of peace and quiet and Germany, and the affected governments are obligated to carry out this pronouncement.

§. 7. When a newspaper or periodical has been suppressed by a pronouncement of the Confederal Assembly, the editor of the same may not be permitted to edit a similar publication in any Confederal state for five years. Furthermore, the author, editor, and publisher of the publications coming under the main provision of § 1 remain, if they have acted according to the rules of this resolution, free of all additional responsibility, and the pronouncements of the Confederal Assembly mentioned in § 6 will be directed exclusively against the publications, never against the persons.

§. 8. All Confederal members commit themselves, within a time period of two months, to inform the Confederal Assembly of the decrees and rules through which they intend to satisfy § 1 of this resolution.

§. 9. All published writings appearing in Germany, whether they come under the provisions of this resolution or not, must be furnished with the name of the publisher and, insofar as they belong to the class of newspapers or periodicals, also with the name of the editor. Published writings for which this rule is not observed may not be circulated in any Confederal state and must, if such takes place in a secret fashion, be confiscated immediately upon their appearance, and the disseminators of the same, according to the nature of the circumstances, must receive an appropriate fine or prison sentence.

§. 10. The current provisional resolution shall remain in effect for five years starting today. Before the expiration of this time, there shall be a thorough investigation in the Confederal Diet about the manner in which the uniform decrees about freedom of the press encouraged in the 18th Article of the Confederal Act might be fulfilled, and [how] a definitive resolution about the constitutional limits of freedom of the press in Germany [may] soon take place.

Source: Protokolle der Bundesversammlung 1819, 35. Sitzung, § 220 [Minutes of the Confederal Assembly 1819, 35th session, Article 220].

Original German text also reprinted in Ernst Rudolf Huber, ed., Deutsche Verfassungsdokumente 1803-1850 [German Constitutional Documents 1803-1850], vol. 1, Dokumente zur deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte [Documents on German Constitutional History], 3rd ed., rev. and enl. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1978, pp. 102-04.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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