The Lying Press is worried about PEGIDA calling them what they are—and naturally using it as another justification to smear the marchers as Nazis.
The coronation of Lügenpresse represents a troubling trend. The Nazi-era phrase, which means “lying press,” has become something of a watchword among Germany’s increasingly vociferous anti-immigrant (and largely anti-Muslim) activists. In recent months, these demonstrators have called on the media to “tell the truth” about what immigrants are doing to Germany.
The non-word announcement came one day after the anti-immigrant groupPEGIDA, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, staged a massive, 25,000-strong rally in the German city of Dresden. The event, scheduled before last week’s shootings in Paris, doubled as a tribute to victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and a rally to promote an anti-immigration platform. According to Reuters, the crowd marched to chants of Lügenpresse, halt die Fresse (“Shut up, lying press”).
As The New York Times reported, a group of cartoonists known as Caricaturists Against PEGIDA also disseminated cartoons slamming the PEGIDA for capitalizing on the events in Paris to further stoke anti-immigration fervor. In a statement, the group said: “PEGIDA is cynically seeking to exploit the Paris attack. We reject that the memory of our friends is being exploited and dragged through the mud in this way.”
Meanwhile, the media-promoted idea that the staff of Charlie Hebdo died for “free speech” is clearly now a joke after 54 French citizens were arrested for speech crimes.
As its citizens continue to rally around theirmuch-celebrated right to free expression, theAssociated Press reports that France has begun a “crackdown on hate speech, anti-Semitism, and glorifying terrorism.” So far, 54 people have been arrested, and some have already been punished “under special measures for immediate sentencing.”
Among those taken into custody was Dieudonné M’bala M’bal, a comedian with a history of racism and anti-Semetism convictions. (Popularizing a hand gesture that resembles a Nazi salute is one of his claims to fame.) Dieudonné was busted over a (since deleted) Monday night Facebook post in which he wrote that he felt “like Charlie Coulibaly” — a reference to the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan and Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who killed four people in a kosher grocery store after the Charlie Hebdo attack. In another post, Dieudonné addressed the French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, writing, “Whenever I speak, you do not try to understand what I’m trying to say, you do not want to listen to me. You are looking for a pretext to forbid me. You consider me like Amedy Coulibaly when I am not any different from Charlie.”
A spokesperson also told reporters that in addition to the stepped-up hate-speech enforcement, the French government is “broadening” its legal ability to tap phones and use other types of intelligence-gathering methods for the purpose of detecting threats.