Saxony-Anhalt: Journalists defend themselves against AfD criticism of MDR reporters

Magdeburg (dpa/sa) - Saxony-Anhalt's state press conference (LPK) protested against public criticism of two MDR journalists at an AfD rally in Magdeburg.

Saxony-Anhalt: Journalists defend themselves against AfD criticism of MDR reporters

Magdeburg (dpa/sa) - Saxony-Anhalt's state press conference (LPK) protested against public criticism of two MDR journalists at an AfD rally in Magdeburg. This would put journalists under pressure and prevent free reporting, according to an open letter addressed to AfD parliamentary group leader Oliver Kirchner, which the LPK published on Thursday.

Kirchner called the two journalists by name and details of their professional careers on Monday evening on Magdeburg Cathedral Square in front of more than 2,000 people. They publicly showed their rejection of the AfD and could therefore not report neutrally, the AfD faction leader had complained.

"This is in line with other previous incidents in which you targeted journalists in public," the LPK letter said. Kirchner stirs up anger and hatred against journalists and promotes a mood "that can all too easily turn into violence". The LPK, an association of journalists who report on state politics, asked Kirchner to refrain from such statements in the future.

When asked, Kirchner said that reporting about him with the connection to extremism was heating up the situation. Not only was he attacked, his vehicle and office were also damaged. "I am not alone in my clear criticism that some of the media reporting, especially in public broadcasting, shows political tendencies," said Kirchner. The directly addressed journalists are just one example.

A statement by the MDR said on Thursday: "Our colleagues work independently and without any agenda. The fact that Oliver Kirchner publicly pilloried two of our reporters who have also reported criticism of the AfD in the past exposes this approach as an unworthy attempt to discredit and intimidate two journalists of integrity". The action of the AfD parliamentary group leader Kirchner is undemocratic and clearly shows "that he tramples on the freedom of broadcasting and the press," said the MDR.

MDR director Carola Wille explained: "Unfortunately, it is now almost a sad part of everyday life that journalists - not only from MDR - are verbally or even physically attacked at demos and other events. MDR is watching this development with concern and stands by the colleagues who are affected and colleagues with protection and legal support at their side."

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