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Pegida favorite 'lying press' is 'Un-word 2014'

DPA/The Local · 13 Jan 2015, 12:30

Published: 13 Jan 2015 12:30 GMT+01:00

The 'Unwort' Jury, made up of four language scientists and a journalist in Darmstadt, announced that they had selected "Lügenpresse" as Unwort des Jahres (un-word of the year).

Each year since 1991, the jury has selected the most offensive, new or newly popularized phrase in order to "promote awareness and sensitivity of language".

The word has been used this year to describe left-leaning media, who users allege promote their own world views rather than the truth. It has become a favourite chant among supporters of the anti-Islam Pegida movement.

Chairwoman of the jury and language scientist, Nina Janich, explained on Tuesday that the word's origins began during the First World War as a rallying cry and was later also used by the Nazis to delegitimize the independent press.

"The term was used to slander the media as a whole", Janich said.

"Such a sweeping condemnation hinders sound media criticism and thus contributes to the endangerment of press freedom, which is so important for democracy."

One incident that bolstered use of the word was when an undercover RTL reporter gave an interview to another network while posing as a Pegida protester.

He said on camera that "when you go out, there really are a lot of Turks. I get on with many of them fine, but it comes to the point where you think 'Are we really still German in Germany?"

The journalist involved lost his job over the incident as the network scrambled to fight accusations of bias.

The 'Word of the Year' for 2014 was "Lichtgrenze," a term referring to the art piece made up of 8,000 illuminated balloons placed along the path of the former Berlin Wall, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

The word of the year and the non-word of the year were originally both announced by the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache, but the Unwort jury split to become independent in 1994.

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The Unwort of 2013 was 'Sozialtourismus,' referring mainly to unwanted immigrants searching for social benefits.

Other previous non-words include "Döner-Morde", or Döner-murder, a phrase used by police and German media to describe the murders of eight ethnic Turkish and one Greek, which turned out to be the work of terrorist neo-Nazis known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU).

SEE ALSO: Reporter sacked over Pegida "interview"

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DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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