BKA: Day of action against political hate postings

As part of a day of action in Germany, around 100 suspects were questioned and their homes searched.

The Frankfurt am Main Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Criminal Police Office are holding a nationwide day of action against political hate postings today. As part of the campaign, searches and interrogations of more than 100 suspects in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony and Thuringia.

Hate postings in the context of the 2021 federal election

The day of action was initiated by investigations by the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main. More than 600 statements were analyzed that were published on social media platforms in the run-up to the 2021 federal election. During the investigation, the authorities were able to identify more than 100 authors of hate posts and initiate proceedings against them.

New StGB paragraph forms the legal basis

The basis for criminal prosecution is Section 188 of the Criminal Code (StGB), which was revised in spring 2021. It criminalizes the defamation and slander of people in political life particularly severely. The cases heard today are insults to politicians and misleading false reports. Two thirds of those affected are women.

“This day of action illustrates the extent to which officials and elected officials are insulted, slandered and threatened on the Internet. In order to prevent the withdrawal of those affected from reaching a level that endangers democracy, we are prosecuting these crimes consistently and in close cooperation with the public prosecutors of the other federal states,”

explains Torsten Kunze, Hessian Attorney General.

limits on freedom of speech

“Freedom of expression reaches its limits when it comes to defamation, insults and threats. With the day of action, we are making it clear: Anyone who posts hate messages must expect the police to be at the door afterwards. But the Federal Criminal Police Office also works intensively against hatred and hate speech on the Internet outside of such days of action. With our Central Reporting Office for Criminal Content on the Internet, ZMI for short, we have been pursuing criminal content on the Internet even more intensively since February of this year.”

says Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office.

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