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German broadcaster ARD accused of hiding Kandel murder story

German public broadcaster ARD has been criticised for its coverage of a crime by a migrant suspect. The channel had refused to report on last week’s fatal stabbing of a teenage girl in the town of Kandel.

Published: January 2, 2018, 9:03 am

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    Critics accuse ARD of having a policy of downplaying criminal acts committed by migrants or stories that could impact foreigners in a negative way.

    “Just imagine if the story was about a 15-year-old girl killing a 15 (30) year old Afghan refugee. There would be special programs on ARD, ZDF, talk shows!” Udo Hemmelgarn, a politician from the anti-immigrant Alternative for German (AfD) party, tweeted.

    Hemmelgarn linked his tweet to a report in the German daily Die Welt on ARD’s delayed response to the murder.

    The stabbing by an “unaccompanied minor” from Afghanistan, suspected of killing his German ex-girlfriend after a bad breakup, happened only two weeks after the girl’s family complained to the police about the Afghan.

    They said he had repeatedly threatened and harassed her online and on the phone after she ended their relationship.

    The story received nationwide coverage in Germany, but some outlets refused to report the nationality of the suspect while others tried to bury the story. In particular, public service broadcaster ARD initially refused to report the crime after the news made headlines on Thursday.

    Marcus Bornheim, a deputy editor-in-chief for ARD’s newsroom, said they delayed the news of the murder on the TV news program Tagesschau “because it was about a crime of passion that involved minors”.

    In a Facebook post, he denied claims that the broadcaster was trying to suppress the murder, maintaining that the regional branch of ARD, the SWR Fernsehen, had reported the story.

    Bornheim later said the 8pm news would broadcast a short report on the crime.

    In 2016, ARD was accused of trying to suppress the story of the murder of a German student Maria Ladenburger which happened in Freiburg. The broadcaster said at the time that it did not report on individual crime cases and focused on “events of social, national and international relevance”.

     

    karin@praag.org

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