13 Aug 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 22 Jul 2019 n° 84/2019 Germany

WDR Journalist Georg Restle Receives Death Threat After Criticising Right-Wing Party AfD

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
After a critical comment on the German right wing party "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD), investigative journalist Georg Restle became victime of online harassment culminating in a death threat received by letter. On 11 July 2019, Restle had described the AfD as the "parliamentary arm of a right-wing extremist movement" in a commentary at the news broadcast "Tagesthemen". He was referring to the "Identitäre Bewegung", an organisation recently classified as a "right-wing extremist movement" by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In the statement, he demands the AfD to be classified as right-wing extremist, too. As a reaction to the commentary, Restle faced harsh criticism on social media and from the AfD itself. Party leader Jörg Meuthen called Restle an "enemy of democracy" and freedom of expression during a speech in Cottbus. His employer, the public service broadcaster "Westdeutscher Rundfunk" (WDR) has filed a criminal complaint.
Updates
19 Aug 2019
According to the WDR, the e-mail against Restle seems to originate from a sender who also threatened Henriette Reker, Mayor of Cologne, and Andreas Hollstein, Mayor of Altena. Investigations into 200 similar threats with right wing content, for which a man from Schleswig-Holstein is being suspected and was ordered pre-trial detention in April 2019, have been centralised in Berlin.
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