German court says public TV must air neo-Nazi campaign spot

Demonstrators take part at a right-wing NPD party May Day rally in Dresden, Germany, on May 1, 2019. (Reuters)

A German neo-Nazi 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.

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.

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.

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 far-right 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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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:59 - GMT 06:59
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