Row over TV ban for AfD
Under pressure from the SPD and the Greens, the German public television station SWR has barred the national conservative AfD party from a TV debate ahead of state parliament elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate in March. Now the CDU candidate in Rhineland-Palatinate, Julia Klöckner, has cancelled her appearance in the debate. Did the broadcaster make the wrong decision?
Coalition parties as AfD campaign helpers
With their refusal to enter a debate with Alternative for Germany (AfD) the coalition partners the SPD and the Greens are driving voters right into the arms of the national conservatives, the centre-left news website Tages-Anzeiger points out:
“The 'Alternative' thrives by casting itself as the victim of the 'prevailing discourse'. It claims to give those a voice who can no longer identify with the 'old parties'. So excluding it from the system serves its interests more than including it. 'Red-Green [the SPD and the Greens] has become the AfD's best campaign helper, as Julia Klöckner [the CDU's leading candidate in Rhineland-Palatinate] put it. A look at the situation in the different German states shows that the right-wing populists tend to win the most votes in those places where they are most harshly marginalised.”
Don't give discriminators a forum
Barring the AfD from TV debates ahead of the state parliament elections in March was the right step, journalist Richard Meng writes on the blog portal Carta.info:
“That's not to say that argument isn't necessary. However, it must not be on equal terms with the representatives of discriminators, but within the democratic spectrum. The claims on all kinds of Internet forums that fears and concerns are not being heeded are simply nonsense. Right now the public debate - sadly - revolves around nothing but such fears and concerns. ... This is also about the steadfastness of civil society as a whole. About its willingness to let itself be infected by the sense of uncertainty in politics and journalism. Or to actually add to that uncertainty”