German neo-Nazis to launch their own video news channel

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The Independent Online

The television anchorman has not yet taken to wearing a toothbrush moustache, or ranting about a "Bolshevik-Jewish" conspiracy threatening the Fatherland, but the message broadcast by Germany's new neo-Nazi video news channel is essentially the same.

The news - as seen by Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) - is all about glorious neo-Nazi rallies, unscrupulous foreigners who attack native Germans and a new exhibition in Tehran which purports to expose the Holocaust as a myth.

Bolstered by its recent gains in key state elections this month, the NPD is preparing to launch its first weekly online video news channel in an attempt to win new followers and cover stories that regular news channels are alleged to suppress.

"The media of the system refuses to recognise us as a democratic party, so we have to find our own way to reach our supporters," said Klaus Beier, an NPD spokesman. "Soon, we will be broadcasting a regular online weekly news programme from our party headquarters." Internet users were given a taste of Germany's first far-right propaganda broadcast since the Second World War this week, when the NPD launched pilot video newscasts on YouTube online, already a favourite neo-Nazi website.

A crop- haired young anchorman called Marcel Woell, wearing an ill-fitting brown suit and orange shirt, sat at a polished wooden studio desk against a backdrop of party slogans and what-looked like a pre-Second World War map of Europe.

Were it not for a curious black sun logo - a mythical Germanic symbol revered by the Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler that sat in the top right hand corner of the screen - the setting would have been almost identical to Germany's prime time television news programme. Tagesschau.

In deadpan mode, Woell regaled viewers with filmed reports of the party's annual memorial march for Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, a story about a Cologne housing estate that was trying to rid itself of foreigners and a report about Tehran's Holocaust exhibition.

Although the broadcasts were mysteriously dropped by YouTube on Thursday , the NPD claimed that its "critical news" programme would be fully online when the party holds its annual congress in mid-November.

The programme is a further embarrassment to Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition. Her government was shocked this month after the NPD won parliamentary seats in elections in Ms Merkel's home state of Mecklemburg- Vorpommern in the north-east. In 2004, the party entered a German regional parliament for the first time in 36 years in elections in the eastern state of Saxony. High unemployment and disillusionment with the established parties were the main reasons for the NPD's electoral gains.

The German government tried to ban the NPD in 2004, but the case was thrown out by the constitutional court. Judges said key evidence used to incriminate the party had been incited by infiltrated intelligence agents.

An opinion poll shows 86 per cent of Germans think the mainstream party politicians should provide convincing arguments to combat far-right extremism. Most people did not believe the NPD could be defeated through prohibition.

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