In November 2015, Dubravko Mandic of conservative party AfD and MP in the state of Baden-Württemberg, posted a picture on Facebook that showed the Nuremberg Trials with the faces of modern politicians photoshopped onto it.
What would be perfectly legal and protected by the first Amendment in America is punishable by German law as an ‘insult’.
Influential news blog Zeit online reported on it on 22nd of March in 2017, or more specifically they copied the report of German news agency AFP. It said, his action is an insult and is not covered by his right to freedom of expression, the court had decided. The article ends with a legal reference number (Az: 2 QS 53/16).
A day later local newspaper „Badische Zeitung“ reported on the same story.
This time though the following sentence was included: ‘At the same time the court decreed that the police searching [his] apartment … acted against the law.’
Multiple requests by readers of Zeit online asking why the sentence was dropped met deaf ears. But Zeit online did do something. They changed the search engine on their website, dropping the indexing of the full text search. For the name ‘Mandic’ five results come up. The article in question is not among them.
However, Google (on the way to the dark site themselves) were unaware of the matter and it can still be found this way.
But that is not all. News agency AFP was dishonest as well. The legal reference did not belong to a decision against Mandic but against the police. They broke the law by entering and searching the department of a citizen without proper reason.
But isn’t that the same decision that also ruled against Mandic? At least that is what the AFP article says. The truth is that there were never any legal charges against Mr Dubravko Mandic that have anything to do with the picture in question.
But isn’t at leat the Badische Zeitung, the local paper that published the full AFP article unchanged, innocent? They headlined the story with ‘Court Ruling on Mandic’.