An article published in popular news magazine Der Spiegel portrays the work of two Jewish lobby groups in Germany as dubious and worrisome, invoking the antisemitic trope of scheming Jewish cabals. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for July.

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An article on the far-right news website PI-News pushed the anti-Muslim and xenophobic narrative of the ‘Great Replacement’ theory, which is popular in far-right circles. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for June.

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The far-right blog Journalistenwatch (JouWatch) uses an account of irreligious school children joining their Muslim peers in fasting for Ramadan in order to invoke the conspiratorial narrative of an alleged “Islamisation” taking place in Europe. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for May.

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The Media Diversity Institute(MDI) has filed a complaint against an article by The Daily Mail that spreads fear about Muslims.  

The article, published on Mail Online on 3 May 2019, claimed that “Mohammed was the most popular first name for boys born in Berlin in 2018”, but a closer look at the results of the Society for the German Language (GfdS) study revealed that this is not accurate.

In the complaint letter addressed to the Managing Editor at The Daily Mail, MDI expressed its concerns about the way the statistics were interpreted to spread anti-Muslim fears among the readers.

In German, there is a distinction between “vornamen” and “erstnamen”. In English, both translate as “first name”. A “vorname” is the general term for “first name”, but “erstname” is the very first name out of a series of first names.

For Berlin, the graphics on the GfdS website presents both the “vornamen” (“1. Alexander, 2. Maximilian, 3. Paul”) and the “erstnamen” (“1. Mohammed, 2. Luis, 3. Emil”). While most of the German media presented the statistics referring to the “vorname”, the statistic that the Mail Online quoted referred to the top 10 “erstnamen” in Berlin in 2018, 

In the complaint, MDI pointed out that Daily Mail reporter Tim Stickings “looked at one federal state (Berlin) and then only at one very specific sub-set (“erstnamen”) of a sub-set (boy’s names) for one year (2018).” In short, it seems that Tim Stickings sifted through the study on most popular first names ignoring the wider picture and the overall facts and opting instead for one name, “Mohammed”, which was number one in one category and then proceeded to build an article around this less relevant result”. 

Out of around 22,000 baby boys born in Berlin in 2018, only 280 have “Mohammed” as “erstname”. A very low number, that also includes all its 25 variations, something that is unusual with other names. Mohammed is also frequently given as a very first name, which means it leads to a higher frequency than other names in the same category.

The complaint letter says that “by focusing on a hyper-specific case and inflating its significance, your article distorts facts and misleads readers.” “The way the statistics are interpreted and framed in your article suggests that the Muslim population in Berlin has outnumbered non-Muslim residents”, the letter continued. “It also suggests that this is a wider trend across Germany which is linked to the arrival of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. In doing so, your reporting implies that this trend is problematic, that having “Mohammed” among the top first names is something negative and  worth highlighting.”

In the context of a media coverage as defined by ECRI as using “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”, MDI believes that the Mail Online article is dog-whistling Islamophobia. It recalls inflammatory narratives of “Islamisation” and spreads unfounded fears among those who read your newspaper.

Published in Complaints

Der muslimfeindliche Blog Philosophia Perennis nutzt eine weltweite Statistik über ermordete Christen, um die Idee in den Vordergrund zu stellen, Muslime würden eine existentielle Gefahr für Christen darstellen. Dies ist das deutsche Medien Monitoring Highlight für April 2019.

Published in Deutsch

The far-right blog Philosophia Perennis uses global statistics of Christian killings as a means to promote the idea of an existential attack on Christians by Muslims. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for April.

Published in Media monitoring

Am Tag nach dem Massaker von Christchurch relativiert die muslimfeindliche Plattform PI-News den Anschlag, indem sie umgehend auf islamische Terroranschläge verweist. Dies ist das deutsche Medien Monitoring Highlight für März 2019.

Published in Deutsch

The day after the Christchurch massacre, far-right platform PI-News relativises the attack by pointing the finger at Islamic terror attacks. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for March.

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Die islamfeindliche Webseite PI-News stellt den Islamkundeunterricht an deutschen Grund- und weiterführenden Schulen als eine Form von heimlicher Missionierung im Namen der angeblichen Islamisierung Europas dar. Dies ist das deutsche Medien Monitoring Highlight für Januar 2019.

Published in Deutsch

The far-right PI-News portrays Islamic studies classes in German primary and secondary schools as a form of clandestine missionary work in the name of the so-called Islamisation of Europe. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for February.

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