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Joint call in Germany: Protect freedom of the press against right-wing extremism!

Hundreds of neo-Nazis will demonstrate against the freelance journalists Julian Feldmann, David Janzen and André Aden on 23.11.2019 in Hannover (Germany). As journalists we condemn the threats and attacks on our colleagues. We call for participation in the protests against the demonstration and call for action to protect the freedom of the press.

These attacks have become a sad part of every-day life:

Far-right extremists despise those who report on their events, clubs, parties and crimes. Journalists Julian Feldmann, David Janzen and André Aden have been working as freelance specialist journalists for over ten years and, like so many others, have come into the focus of the right-wing scene. The hate for our colleagues goes so far that they regularly receive death threats. A high-ranking neo-Nazi leader spoke about Julian Feldmann at several events and mentioned a revolver which is already ready to be used against him. David Janzen was threatened by a well-known neo-Nazi from Braunschweig with the words "Today Walter [Lübcke], tomorrow Janzen". These threats were followed by crimes; Janzen's private apartment has already been attacked several times this year. Neo-Nazis are currently collecting pictures, public and private data from numerous right-wing extremism experts. In Telegram groupchats of the right scene an equivalent call was spread. It is rumoured that a broad-based doxxing is being prepared, to the detriment of colleagues.

In Germany, nowadays attacks on journalists and interventions in their private lives are no longer so uncommon. Reporting on-the-field, journalists regularly become victims of right-wing violence. The NPD demonstration in Hannover is the next step in turning media workers lives into hell.

Newly formed small groups are also organising attacks against free reporting. Journalists are denounced in numerous texts. Critical journalists are covered with expensive cease-and-desist letters, complaints and accusations. Photos of colleagues are specifically distributed via scene media and used to mark potential targets.

False information is also used to damage the reputation of colleagues. Editorial offices should be prevented from giving orders to certain journalists. Within the right scene, the texts are intended to prevent informants from talking to reporters who are familiar with the scene.

Legal action against such publications is often without prospect, associated with high costs and time-consuming. The aim of the extreme right is to pressure journalists to give up their work.

Take action!

We call the press council, all democratic publishers and editorial offices as well as the state media authorities to show solidarity with their colleagues affected by hate and threats and to offer them their support.

We call the democratic parties and their deputies to bring in laws to better protect journalists in their work.

We demand:

  • Simplified procedures for blocking information at the Residents' Registration Office for Journalists.
  • New regulation of the imprint obligation in order to better protect the private addresses of journalists and bloggers.
  • Nationwide mandatory training of police officersfor dealing with media representatives
  • A commitment by all police authorities to the principles of conduct for the press, radio and police in order to avoid obstructing the performance of police duties and the free exercise of 1993 reporting.
  • Sensitization of public prosecutor's offices and courts for attacks on journalists and consistent application of all legal possibilities.
  • The exhaustion of all legal possibilities by the assembly authority, in order to prevent hate and agitation against our colleagues on 23.11.2019 in Hannover.
  • We as journalists and media representatives, condemn the planned demonstration in Hannover, the threats and attacks against our colleagues.
  • We call for participation in the protests against the anti-press demonstration.

 

Signed by 450 individuals, 16 editioral offices and associations:

Editiorial offices: 

● Die Chefredaktionen von ZEIT und ZEIT ONLINE
● DER SPIEGEL/Chefredaktion
● Chefredaktion der taz - Barbara Junge, Georg Löwisch, Katrin Gottschalk
● Chefredaktion der Frankfurter Rundschau - Bascha Mika, Thomas Kaspar, Michael Bayer
● NDR Ressort Investigation
● Panorama-Redaktion (NDR/ARD)
● NDR-Redaktion 45Min/Story im Ersten
● Redaktion Frontal21 (ZDF)
● Blick nach Rechts - Informationsdienst
● ENDSTATION RECHTS
● Redaktion und Verlag neues deutschland
● Redaktion Belltower.News (Amadeu Antonio Stiftung)
● Redaktion MedWatch
● Verlag der Jugendbewegung
● recherche-nord - Rechercheverbund freier Journalist*innen
● Redaktion »der rechte rand« - Magazin von und für Antifaschist*innen 

Associations:

● Reporter ohne Grenzen
● Bundesvorstand Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di
● Landesvorstand Niedersachsen-Bremen Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di
● Landesvorstand Hamburg/Nord Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di
● ver.di Senderverband Deutsche Welle
● Senderverband ver.di im NDR
● Bundesvorstand Deutscher Journalisten-Verband e.V.
● DJV Niedersachsen
● FREELENS - Verband der Fotojournalist*innen und Fotograf*innen
● Freischreiber e.V. - Berufsverband der freien Journalistinnen und Journalisten
● European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
● Neue deutsche Medienmacher e.V.
● Netzwerk Recherche e.V.
● AGRA - Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Redakteursausschüsse von ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandradio und Deutscher Welle
● Redaktionsausschuss Funkhaus Köln Deutschlandfunk
● VRFF Die Mediengewerkschaft
● VRFF Die Mediengewerkschaft - Betriebsgruppe ZDF
● VRFF Die Mediengewerkschaft - Betriebsgruppe Freie Produktionswirtschaft
● dbb bundesfrauenvertretung
● DIDF - Föderation Demokratischer Arbeitervereine

 

(Original call translated from German to English)

Read the whole statement in German with all Signatories here.