Status: January 12th, 2022 5:30 p.m.
In her first speech in the Bundestag, Interior Minister Faeser announced an action plan against right-wing extremism. She wants to promote democracy projects on a permanent basis – and threatens to shut down the Telegram messenger service.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wants to present an action plan against right-wing extremism by Easter. “We will do everything we can to stop radicalization and smash right-wing extremist networks and consistently withdraw arms from extremists,” said the SPD politician in the Bundestag. The federal government has an eye on all extremist threats. “But the greatest threat to democracy is right-wing extremism,” said Faeser. Combating it must therefore have the highest priority.
Faeser announced that, together with the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Anne Spiegel (Greens), he wanted to launch a law promoting democracy “as soon as possible”. It is intended to secure the long-term financing of initiatives, centers and projects that work against extremism, provide awareness-raising work or provide political education. Currently, such projects are usually only financed for a limited period. A democracy promotion law for reliable funding was no longer passed in the last electoral term due to opposition from large parts of the Union.
Faeser threatens Telegram with shutdown
In her first speech in front of parliament, the interior minister also warned of the influence of right-wing extremists in demonstrations against the corona measures. “They are not fighting against Corona, they are fighting against our democracy,” said Faeser. She called on critics of the corona protective measures to distance themselves from extremists.
Previously, in an interview, Faeser had threatened the chat service Telegram, which is often used by “lateral thinkers” and right-wing extremists, with the shutdown. “We cannot rule that out per se either, a shutdown would be very serious and clearly the ultima ratio,” said the minister of the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”. “Before that, all other options must have been unsuccessful.” Obviously, previous measures, including a warning letter from the Federal Ministry of Justice, have come to nothing.
Telegram should be forced to cooperate
When asked how such a “shutdown” could be achieved in practice, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior was unable to provide any technical or legal details when asked by the dpa news agency. Faeser told “Zeit” that it was striving for a European solution to force Telegram to cooperate. She pointed out: “Today Telegram is in Dubai, tomorrow maybe in the Cayman Islands. We will need a lot of strength to enforce the law. As a German nation-state we cannot do it alone.”
Many people around the world use Telegram primarily for 1-to-1 communication in a private or professional context, such as Wire, Signal, Whatsapp, Threema or other messenger services. For some users who have been blocked from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or other social networks because of extremist content, Telegram is an alternative platform.