German public TV must air far-right campaign spot: Court

The far-right German NPD party won a bid Wednesday before the highest court to force a public broadcast network to show one of its TV campaign adverts for European Parliament elections.

German public TV must air far-right campaign spot: Court
Participants of an NPD March wearing shirts with the logo "White Nation" in Wismar, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on May 1st. Photo: DPA

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that broadcaster ARD must air the advert by the right-wing extremist National Party of Germany (NPD) on free speech grounds.

After earlier court defeats for the NPD, it found there no firm evidence that the group's reworked TV spot was illegally inciting racial hatred, as claimed by ARD's Berlin regional broadcaster RBB.

SEE ALSO: Germany ends state funding for far-right NPD party

In its latest commercial, the NPD asserts that Germans had become “victims almost daily” because of the “uncontrolled mass immigration”.

The NPD has seats in many town halls in Germany's ex-communist east but negligible poll ratings at the national level.

Since its founding in 1964, the party has not been able to win enough votes to cross the 5 percent threshold it needs for a seat in Germany's parliament.

Germany's upper house of parliament lost a bid in 2017 to ban the NPD, as
the Constitutional Court ruled the xenophobic fringe group was too insignificant to pose a real threat to the democratic order.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has also railed against Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow in more than one million asylum seekers during a 2015-16 influx, is polling around 10 percent ahead of the European Parliament elections.

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New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs

Germany's Defence Minister on Tuesday vowed to severely punish soldiers stationed in Lithuania who were accused of singing racist and anti-Semitic songs, if the allegations turned out to be true.

New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs
German soldiers training in Saxony-Anhalt in May. credit: dpa-Zentralbild | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

“Whatever happened is in no way acceptable,” said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Those implicated would be “vigorously prosecuted and punished”, she added.

The Spiegel Online news site had on Monday reported that German soldiers in Lithuania sang racist and anti-Semitic songs during a party at a hotel in April.

One had also sought to sexually assault another soldier while he was asleep, a scene which was caught on film, said Spiegel.

According to Spiegel Online, the scenes took place at a party at which soldiers consumed large quantities of alcohol. They are also alleged to have arranged a “birthday table” for Adolf Hitler on April 20th and to have sung songs for him.

It is unclear to what extent more senior ranked soldiers were aware of the incidents.

Three soldiers have been removed from the contingent stationed in the Baltic country and an investigation is ongoing to identify other suspects, said the report.

The German armed forces have been repeatedly rocked by allegations of right-wing extremism within their ranks.

Kramp-Karrenbauer last year ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK commando force after revelations that some of its members harboured neo-Nazi sympathies.

SEE ALSO: Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination