Responding to a parliamentary inquiry by the Left Party, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police (BKA) said that its nationwide reporting service registered a total of 320 criminal acts committed against journalists in 2022, the highest number since data on such crimes was first compiled back in 2016.
The German newspaper Welt reported, citing the report, that of the 320 politically motivated media attacks, 46 were violent, 41 involved threats, 31 involved property damage and 27 involved incitement.
Among German states, Saxony led the list with 69 crimes, followed by 66 in Berlin and 40 in Bavaria. Some 20 incidents were registered in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
The statistics cited by Welt and other German media outlets showed a tripling of reported crimes targeting the media in Germany over the past four years, with a steady rise from 93 such attacks in 2018.
Was violence against journalists tied to coronavirus protests?
The Left Party inquiry also asked for data on the number of criminal attacks directly linked to protests concentrating on the coronavirus: the tally — 64, 15 of which were violent. Here, too, Saxony led German states with more than half of all coronavirus-protest-related crimes, 34, while all other states were in the single digits.
“Recorded crimes against media professionals reached a sad new high in 2022. This also applies to violent crimes, one-third of which — as in the previous year — were committed in connection with COVID-related protests,” said Petra Sitte, the Left Party’s media policy spokeswoman.
“Even if the occasions for such protests disappear, the radicalization and anti-press attitudes of certain groups will be a continuing problem,” she added.
Sitte also called for a coordinated state and federal strategy when it comes to protecting freedom of the press and those who work for the country’s media outlets, as well as the continuous evaluation of the situation moving forward.
js/fb (AFP, dpa)