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Behind the Headlines German Media Faulted for Inadequate Coverage of Neo-nazi Activities

West Germany’s broadcast media is sadly wanting in its reportage of neo-Nazi activities and the police and other authorities are to blame for suppressing and discouraging such coverage, according to academicians and journalists who participated in a discussion of the problem at the Roman Catholic Academy in Schwerte.

They complained, among other things, that the media gave much more attention to leftwing extremism. A television team from WDR, the Cologne-based radio and television station, charged that journalists cannot rely on help from the police or other authorities when they do research on the re-emergence of Nazism in the Federal Republic.

The team, which prepared a documentary titled “The Supressed Danger,” said that on many occasions their attempts at research encountered rejection or disinformation on the part of officials whose job it was to monitor political extremism.

OFFICIAL PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA

Guenther Ginzel, a producer of many radio documentaries on neo-Nazis, said the people responsible for the State-controlled radio and television stations apparently believe that the “enemy” is entirely on the left. “There is enormous pressure not to air material on neo-Nazis,” he said.

Ginzel said that many officials feel personally attacked when a reporter equates Nazi ideas with some of their attitudes on issues such as the role of the family, the reunification of Germany, capital punishment and other matters. Therefore, they tend to reject any broadcast on neo-Nazism, he said.

Prof. Hans-Dieter Kuebler of Muenster University made a similar observation. He said there is practically no serious attempt to discuss the ideological origins of neo-Nazi activities.

Eike Hennig, a political scientist from Kassel University, complained that the media reported on neo-Nazism in this country only when something dramatic occurred. According to Ginzel, neo-Nazi activities not reported include most of what happens in schools.

The meeting ended with a unanimous call on radio, television and newspapers to report “continuously and in detail” on all neo-Nazi manifestations.

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