Julian Reichelt, the editor-in-chief of Germany’s largest tabloid newspaper Bild, has vowed not to grant members of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) any more traditional interviews.
Mr Reichelt stated that Bild would cover any news regarding the populist party, which serves as the official opposition in the German Bundestag, but said his paper would not offer a platform for members of the party.
In an interview with the online magazine Quotenmeter, Reichelt said: “We will not offer the AfD or other parties that are monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany any area or scope.”
“We will not allow them to promote themselves. A traditional interview with the AfD will not take place with us,” he added, referring to interviews such as the summer interview, traditionally taken against a picturesque backdrop.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence service, recently released a report that added some 7,000 members of the AfD to its list of far-right extremists, including some members of the AfD’s youth organisation Junge Alternative.
Thomas Haldenwang, the head of the BfV, has hinted that the agency may consider labelling the entire AfD an extremist party.
Mr Reichelt went on to state in his interview that he believed there should be no party in Germany that is to the right of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) or the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), quoting a former CSU leader who believed the same.
German Media Accuses Populist of Calling for Coup at PEGIDA 200th Rally https://t.co/hM6CwAUxAy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 19, 2020
The media spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Martin Renner, reacted to the interview, saying: “It is inconceivable that a medium like the Bild newspaper is in the service of establishment politics and distances itself from the largest opposition party, the AfD.”
Joachim Paul, media spokesman for the AfD in the Rhineland-Palatinate region, added: “Reichelt’s statements represent a journalistic oath of revelation. The Bild motto ‘picture your opinion’ will probably become ‘we want to form your opinion’ over the course of the federal election.”
Paul added: “Anyone wishing to report during election campaign times should no longer be upset about the media landscape in Hungary and Russia. They lack any credibility.”
German mainstream media has never shown support for the populist party. Earlier this year, newspaper Berliner Zeitung even went as far as accusing AfD leader in Thuringia, Björn Höcke, of calling for a coup.