European Federation of Journalists

German journalists refused accreditation to political conference

The European Federation of Journalists supports its member in Germany, the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband  in requesting  fair accreditation to journalists who wish to attend the European Parliament’s Europe of Nations and Freedom group) conference in Koblenz on 21 January .

The meeting,  is to be attended by leaders of Germany’s right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) as well as Marine Le Pen, who heads up France’s National Front. The leader of the Dutch Freedom Party Geert Wilders and the chief of Italy’s Northern League Matteo Salvini are due to speak at the conference.

According to information of the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband, several  journalists who have been critical in their reporting about the German party Alternative für Deutschland (AFD), will not get any accreditation to the  ENF (Europe of the Nations and Freedom) conference. Journalists from Die  Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung, der ARD-Tagesschau, Das Handelsblatt and der Spiegel were refused accreditation based on prior critical reporting of the AFD.

Only the press conferences will be open to all journalists, but not the political conference itself. The meeting’s deliberations will also be streamed live on the internet, organisers said.

„When the political group “ Europa of the nations and freedom’ of the European Parliament organises a conference, it is not a private meeting in the living room“, says DJV-chair Frank Überall. „Parties, which are supposed to contribute to the political decision-making process, cannot exclude journalists from its meetings”.

German public broadcaster ARD said Thursday it may take legal action after it was refused access. The IFJ and EFJ submitted an alert to the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism.

“In our views, this approach violates the  practical nature of accreditation based on the fact that  journalistic privileges are provided with a specific purpose–to realize the public right to freedom of information”, said the EFJ.

Photo: Credit: Tobias Schwarz / AFP