1950er und 1960er Jahre: Militante Antikommunisten und NPD-Gewalttäter
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Please find details to our shipping fees here. Photo: ekvidi. Source: Flickr. Prosecutions for incitement to hatred and defamation have increased sharply in Germany in recent years. In , German police recorded 2, cases of incitement; two years later, that figure more than doubled to 6, On one hand, far-right propaganda is now spread primarily on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Users now report offensive statements to the authorities more frequently.
Xenophobia, racism and anti-Europeanism rose sharply in Germany at the height of the global refugee crisis in summer This was also when the rightwing populist party Alternative for Germany AfD began to climb the opinion polls — hitting 20 per cent on some occasions. The German government desperately needed a means to stem this racist tide, which to a great extent was expressed via online hate campaigns.
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The committee came up with a set of recommendations for dealing with online hatred. However, these remained largely ineffectual: according to one analysis at the beginning of , YouTube deleted around 90 per cent of content reported by users, but Facebook only 39 per cent and Twitter just one per cent. This confirmed that voluntary self-regulation of social networks had definitively failed. Where content is not unequivocally illegal, the law allows a period of seven days in which to act.
Additionally, network operators must establish a system so that users can report potentially illegal content. Any social network with more than two million users must also appoint a contact who the authorities can deal with. In Germany, restrictions on free speech are much tighter than in the United States. This does not cover statements that constitute incitement to hatred or defamation. Under German criminal law, you are guilty of defamation if, against your better knowledge, you assert or disseminate an untrue statement relating to another person that is likely to cause that person to become an object of contempt, to lower public opinion of them, or to threaten their reputation.
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Convictions carry a prison sentence of up to five years. Incitement to hatred, on the other hand, covers breaches of the peace through incitement of hatred against parts of the population, through calling for violent or repressive measures against them, or through attacking their human dignity through abuse, malicious slander or defamation. This offence includes publicly approving of, trivializing or denying the Holocaust. Convictions carry a prison sentence of between three months and five years. The incitement paragraph in its current form originated in an amendment to the criminal law code in It was a response by the Adenauer government to a series of anti-Semitic offences, including a series of arson attacks on synagogues.
In principle, it is to be welcomed that policy-makers are taking strong action against fake news and online hate speech. The law against incitement to hatred is intended to prevent the emergence of a climate of opinion where certain groups are aggressively excluded and where they could also become the victims of physical violence.
However, it is precisely here that the NetzDG may do more harm than good. Civil rights and internet activists have criticized the NetzDG for allegedly restricting freedom of opinion instead of protecting it. Normally, it is the job of public prosecutors or courts to determine whether specific statements constitute defamation or incitement to hatred. According to the new law however, this decision is now to be left to the social networks themselves.
The government is therefore appointing these corporations, which are already parties to each case, as both judges and opinion police. Given the sheer mass of decisions that they are now supposed to take, social media service providers are now confronted with a Herculean task: the German ministry of justice has estimated that social networks receive over , complaints annually, which among other things include hate speech. This is equal to the total number of crimes recorded every year for the whole of Berlin, for example.
It is clear what the consequences will be.
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In order to avoid costs and lengthy court cases, not to mention the draconian fines that hang over the heads of their employees, social media companies will delete reported comments if in doubt. Conscientious assessment based on legal criteria is precluded. For this is where the next problem lies. The German courts are already massively overstretched. According to the German Association of Judges, there is a shortage of around 2, judges and public prosecutors nationwide, with criminal justice particularly affected.
Even if the resources were at some point to materialize, there is no guarantee that hate speech would actually disappear from the internet. For judges and public prosecutors also find it difficult to glean from the law on incitement what exactly constitutes a criminal act. The difficulty of contextual interpretation is also why many cases are dropped or suspended — including the case of Lutz Bachmann, founder of the Islamophobic and rightwing Pegida movement.
Kasek argued that the slogan was presenting refugees per se as rapists and thus fuelling xenophobia. Prosecuting incitement to hatred is even more difficult when offences are committed abroad — albeit for different reasons. According to the law on incitement, these are to be prosecuted no differently from domestic offences, regardless of whether the offenders are resident in Germany or not.
Here, too, the condition is that such offences impact on the public peace in Germany and injure the human dignity of its inhabitants. As such, it suffices for criminal content to be accessible on the internet in Germany. In order for there to be a conviction, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the statement is attributable to the accused. This is relatively easy to establish if the offender makes their statements in public with witnesses present.
On the internet though, it is not so simple to prove whether a particular person is indeed the author of a statement — especially if the social network operator refuses to cooperate with the German prosecution authorities. Eatwell, Roger Fromm, Rainer Rassistischer Hass im World Wide Web. Die weltweite Vernetzung von Neonazis im Internet. Griffin, Roger Stuttgart: ibidem: Ignazi, Piero Irvine, Jill A. Jaschke, Hans-Gerd Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag: Maegerle, Anton Neonazis und andere Rechtsextremisten in Osteuropa. Mudde, Cas Vajmarska Srbija.
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Ramet, Sabrina P. Schenkel, Dominik Neonazis auf YouTube. Williams, Christopher Vienna: Lit: Crkve i verske zajednice u Srbiji i Crnoj Gori. Stuttgart: ibidem, , pp. Irvine Jill A. Sexual minorities are also targeted by violent extremists, as the incidents in connection with the gay pride parade in Belgrade illustrate cf. Frequent threats against critical journalists and civil rights activists cf.
Ramet Stuttgart: ibidem, , p. Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag, , p. Literally, dveri means doors. The term refers to the doors in the ikonostas , the partition in Orthodox churches which divides the sanctuary from the nave cf. On Internet use by the German extreme right, see Fromm and Schenkel Currently, the regular issues are published electronically, while the special issues still appear in print. The text was re-published by Ihtus, a publishing company notorious for promoting right-wing extremism.