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German Media Watchdog Instructs Press to Censor Ethnicity and Religion in Reports

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s media regulator has revised its code of conduct on reporting whether crime suspects belong to an ethnic or religious minority after complaints the previous guidance was unclear.

The German Press Council – a voluntary, industry-run body – says information about a person’s ethnicity shouldn’t be published “unless there is a justified public interest in doing so.”

The wording agreed Wednesday replaces previous guidance that said such details should only be published if there was a link between a person’s ethnicity or religion and the crime.

Numerous German media outlets complained that the old code was hard to interpret during a breaking news situation.

They argued that withholding such information left readers searching for it on questionable social media sites and stirred conspiracy theories of media cover-ups of migrant crimes.

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