German interior minister to file complaint against journalist for anti-police column

Horst Seehofer's move has prompted accusations that he is undermining press freedom.

German interior minister to file complaint against journalist for anti-police column

BERLIN — Germany’s interior minister said late Sunday that he would file a criminal complaint against a journalist over a column criticizing the police, drawing accusations that he was undermining press freedom.

Last week, left-leaning newspaper Taz published a satirical piece titled “All cops are incapable,” which prompted outrage from police unions and dozens of complaints to Germany’s press council.

In the piece, columnist Hengameh Yaghoobifarah mused that if the police were abolished — a demand made by some Black Lives Matter activists to address structural racism among police forces — officers would be unqualified to work anywhere but “the landfill.” The piece ended with the line: “They would certainly feel most comfortable among their own kind.”

On Sunday, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told tabloid Bild that he would file a criminal complaint against Yaghoobifarah.

“Uninhibited words lead to uninhibited actions and excesses of violence. We cannot accept that,” said Seehofer, linking the column to weekend riots in the southern city of Stuttgart, during which several police officers were injured.

On Monday, he softened his tone somewhat, saying: “I have the intention [to file a complaint] but I first have to talk to my lawyers about it.”

One major German police union already filed a criminal complaint against Taz last week, arguing the column amounted to incitement. Seehofer did not specify what type of complaint he wanted to file against Yaghoobifarah; the German interior ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The editor-in-chief of Taz, Barbara Junge, apologized for the column’s language this weekend but sharply criticized Seehofer’s announcement.

“As interior minister, Seehofer is by means of his office responsible for protecting the constitution and therefore the press freedom guaranteed by it. Seehofer is also responsible for the police. In this case, the interior minister puts the interests of the police above press freedom,” Junge said.

She added: “His decision could not be clearer. His complaint against our author is a shameful attack on press freedom.”

Last week, Seehofer — a member of the conservative Christian Democrats — said that federal police would no longer be deployed for operations in Berlin due to the left-leaning regional government’s new anti-discrimination law, which bans public officials, including the police, from discriminating against people based on everything from skin color to gender.

Source : Politico EU More   

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The Rock and Ursula von der Leyen to co-host corona event

European Commission chief to co-host concert and summit featuring Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

The Rock and Ursula von der Leyen to co-host corona event

He’s starred alongside Rachel Weisz, Vin Diesel and a crocodile named Lizzie, but now Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is preparing to share the limelight with … Ursula von der Leyen.

The president of the European Commission will join the former wrestler turned action movie lead as co-hosts of a global coronavirus pledging summit and concert on Saturday.

Details of the event were first revealed late last month. The Commission on Monday gave more information on those who will take part.

The goal is to raise donations from everyone — not just major countries and philanthropists — to help find diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to fight coronavirus.

Von der Leyen and Johnson — whose box office hits include “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” and “The Mummy Returns” — will co-host the event, which will include performances by Christine and the Queens, Shakira, Coldplay, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.

The concert — which is part of the Global Goal: Unite For Our Future campaign launched by the Commission and the anti-poverty movement Global Citizen — will also feature appearances by Chris Rock, Hugh Jackman, Charlize Theron, Forest Whitaker, David Beckham and Salma Hayek.

It will be broadcast by a number of European TV channels and on social media.

In a statement, von der Leyen said: “Artists have the power to inspire change. They use their talents to serve great causes. On 27 June, at the ‘Global Goal: Unite for our Future’ Summit and Concert, artists, scientists and world leaders will speak with one voice, in a true and rare moment of global unity. They will commit to helping the world end coronavirus, while leaving no one behind. The European Union is fully committed to ensuring fair access to an affordable vaccine, as soon as possible, for everyone that needs it. United, I know we can make the world a safer place.”

Source : Politico EU More   

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