'Painted With the Neo-Nazi Brush': Was the Media Coverage of the German Protests Against Covid19 Govt Restrictions Biased?

Published August 3rd, 2020 - 08:53 GMT
'Painted With the Neo-Nazi Brush': Was the Media Coverage of the German Protests Against Covid19 Govt Restrictions Biased?
A demonstrator in a wedding gown poses in front of the Brandenburg Gate with a sign reading: "Yes to the (Germany's) basic law" as she takes part in protest against the current measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in Berlin. (JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP - edited by Al Bawaba)

Calls to protest against the German government's measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus have attracted at least 20k people in the country's capital on Saturday. However, the way these protests were reported by the media afterward sparked a strong backlash as it described the demonstrators as "Neo-Nazis" and "far-right-wing."

The "day of freedom" protests, where demonstrators called on the government to stop forcing wearing masks and lockdown restrictions on them, saying that it violates their personal freedoms, have been framed by several local and international media outlets as "featuring conspiracy theorists and right-wing slogans," which ignited an online discussion on "media bias when it comes to protests that go against the mainstream."

Some commentators argued that prominent news websites have been painting all demonstrators as "Neo-Nazis in an attempt to demonize them and their calls." Yet, the BBC correspondent noted that "some participants were from the far-right and some were conspiracy theorists, who do not believe Covid-19 exists, but others were ordinary people who simply object the government's approach to the pandemic."

Additionally, some newspapers who have negatively portrayed the Berlin protest stressing "protesters defiance of social distancing rules" were criticized for "double-standard reporting," as social media users highlighted that the same newspapers were supportive of Black Lives Matter protests that rocked several international cities last June, which "took place during the pandemic too."

Despite having Europe's largest elderly population, Germany has had one of the continent's lowest death rates of less than 0.50%, according to official figures. Thus, the country is witnessing a growing opposition to lockdowns and masks, amid increasing sentiment against the Coronavirus danger they called "a hoax" and "a false alarm."


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