New "Ministry of Truth" in Germany

Wednesday, 18 January, 2017 - 14:15

Officials in Germany's Interior Ministry are urging Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to establish a "Defense Center against Disinformation" (Ab­wehr­zen­trum ge­gen Des­in­for­ma­ti­on) to combat what they call "political disinformation," a euphemism for "fake news."

"The acceptance of a post-truth age would amount to political capitulation," the officials told Maizière in a memo, which also disclosed that the bureaucrats at the Interior Ministry are eager to see "authentic political communication" remain "defining for the 21st century."

In other words, the Interior Ministry's bureaucrats fear that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose the elections in September 2017, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario, even if it means using (even more) federal authority to crack down on free speech by inventing an official state propaganda bureau. The current debate on "fake news" is a convenient excuse.

Germany has, of course, been cracking down on free speech for quite a while now. Already in September 2015, Merkel said, "When people stir up sedition on social networks using their real name, it is not only the state that has to act, but also Facebook as a company should do something against these statements".

Actually under a government program, which has enlisted the help of the German non-governmental organization, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, led by Anetta Kahane (who is former Stasi agent and informer) German authorities are monitoring how many supposedly "racist" posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to look at legislative measures if the results turn out to be "unsatisfactory". The program is scheduled to run until March 2017.