Fear and censorship in Germany

The prosecution of the Pegida leader reflects the elite’s contempt for the people.

Earlier this month, Lutz Bachmann, founder and head of Pegida, Germany’s anti-Islam movement, was convicted and fined €9,600 for having called refugees ‘cattle’, ‘filth’ and ‘scum’ in a 2014 Facebook post. This, a Dresden court ruled, was a criminal offence under Germany’s ‘incitement of the people’ law (‘Volksverhetzung’).

Volksverhetzung bans speech that could incite hatred against a national, racial, religious or ethnic minority. As well as limiting speech that calls for ‘violent or arbitrary measures’, it also regulates ‘assaults on the human dignity by insulting segments of the population or individuals because of their belonging to a minority group’.