A court in Cologne has reduced the highest-ever compensation for negative media coverage which was awarded to Swiss-German weather forecaster Jörg Kachelmann last year. The case dates back to 2010 rape allegations.
A court in Cologne reduced the compensation to be paid to Kachelmann from 635,000 euros ($704,660) to 395,000 euros in a judgement on Tuesday. Appeal was denied. The record damages had been awarded by another court in Cologne last year.
The case dates back to newspaper and online coverage by the Axel Springer publishing group and one of its subsidiaries, especially German mass-circulation daily newspaper "Bild," over the coverage of Kachelmann's trial for rape which ended in May 2011.
Kachelmann, who was a celebrity public TV network weatherman at the time, denied the charges that he had raped his ex-girlfriend of 10 years at knifepoint in 2010. Judges at a court in Mannheim acquitted him of the charges in 2011 on the basis of "insufficient evidence."
Following his arrest at Frankfurt airport in March 2010 and the months he spent in jail under investigative custody awaiting his trial, details of Kachelmann's private life filled newspaper columns and TV news broadcasts. Kachelmann had admitted he was not monogamous and German media reported on the intricacies of his many girlfriends and his celebrity lifestyle. In addition to Axel Springer titles, the case was a cover story on best-selling news magazines Spiegel and Stern.
Kachelmann had become Germany's favorite weatherman owing to his light-hearted forecasts, extravagant neckties and unshaven appearance.
In announcing Tuesday's judgement in Cologne, presiding judge Margarete Reske said the case had been one that attracted "substantial media interest," and it was the task of the media to report, albeit with due restraint. The judges ruled a number of photographs to have been inadmissable.
The attorney for Axel Springer, Jan Hegemann, appeared satisfied with the ruling, saying that Kachelmann had "originally wanted 2.25 million," and that "it had now become 395,000 euros."
Kachelmann continues to forecast the weather, with 41,300 Twitter followers, and online from his website:
jm/msh (epd, dpa)