German Far Right in Legal Battle over Free Speech

Yahoo! News, June 29, 2012

A German far-right party’s legal challenge against the German postal service over its refusal to deliver the party’s magazine will be decided in the Federal High Court in September.

A leader in the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) said on Friday the challenge on freedom of speech grounds was raised by NPD deputies in the Saxony state assembly, one of two state assemblies in Germany where the far-right party has seats.

Holger Szymanski, a spokesman for the NPD in the Saxony parliament, said the party believes its constitutional rights to free speech are being violated by the postal service’s refusal to distribute its newsletter, “Klartext”.


The postal service is the latest company to run into a legal challenge from the NPD. Since 2008 it has refused to send out “Klartext” in the Leipzig region.

Lower state and district courts in Saxony have backed the postal service’s position regarding “Klartext” and said it should not be considered a magazine but rather propaganda intolerant of different opinions. {snip}

Under German law, all newspapers must be distributed by the postal service in accordance with the principles of free speech and freedom of information.

“Political content does not play a role in the juridical decision,” said Joachim Bornkamm, chief justice at the High Court of Justice, in comments that opened the trial on Thursday.

Because ‘Klartext’ is distributed to non-subscribers, much like advertising pamphlets, its status as a newspaper has come under question. {snip}


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