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20.09.2018
Lügenpresse 3

"Concept of the enemy III: the violent forces are ganging up against journalists"

graphic ffm-germany.-3 Cases of phyiscal attacks against journalists in Germany (Jan 2015 - Sep 2018) – Source ECPMF

Violence against journalists in Germany is on the rise. Up to mid-September 2018 the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) documented and verified 22 physical attacks on 28 journalists. Last year it was five attacks. So the number of violent attacks is now close to the previous record high of 2015.

At the Chemnitz demonstrations on September 1st alone nine attacks happened with eleven victims. This negative record manifests Saxony’s leading place in the league of shame, shown in the ECPMF's third report on violent attacks on journalists in Germany. Already 13 attacks were documented in Saxony this year - that’s more than half of all incidents. Four attacks were registered by the ECPMF in Saxony-Anhalt, two in Thuringia and one each in Brandenburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg und North Rhine-Westphalia.

As in the years 2017 and 2018, the attacks on journalists mostly came from the right of the political spectrum. The majority of the attacks (25 of 27 for both years) happened in the context of right-wing gatherings and in one case the attackers were extreme right-wingers. It was always difficult to differentiate between „concerned citizens“ on the one side and neo-nazis on the other. And this seems no longer possible given the events in Chemnitz. The readiness to commit violent acts especially at gatherings has grown, and also the readiness of some „angry citizens“ to tolerate and legitimate violence against journalists is remarkable.

On average most journalists are being attacked while photographing, filming or simply holding cameras. In the period between January 2017 and September 2018, in 24 of 27 cases it was media workers with cameras who were attacked.

The ECPMF numbers differ from the official numbers of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), especially those for Saxony. The authors assume that the criteria for official data collection differ from state to state.

Not only the number of physical attacks but also the number of severe verbal assaults remains extremely high. Bellowing ‚lying press‘ insults and vile abuse and also hindering the journalists‘ work – that has been an inherent part of right-wing populist and right-wing extremists’ behaviour at their gatherings ever since 2015.

This means ‚lying press‘ slander and physical attacks as a result endanger press freedom in Germany, especially at demonstrations in central and East Germany. Everyone who can be identified as a journalist at such gatherings, must expect to be openly attacked.

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