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TV anchor urges public to fight online racism

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TV anchor urges public to fight online racism
Refugee children housed in a gym in Bavaria. Photo: DPA
11:27 CEST+02:00
Public television journalist Anja Reschke sparked a massive online discussion on Wednesday evening with a heartfelt plea to ordinary people to speak out against those calling for violence and hatred against refugees.

"If I were to sit here and say publicly, 'I think Germany should take in economic refugees too'... I would get a flood of hate comments," Reschke said at the opening of her editorial on the Tagesschau evening news programme.

"Until recently, such commentators were hidden behind pseudonyms. But now such things are being published under real names.

"Apparently it's no longer embarrassing – on the contrary, for phrases like 'filthy vermin should all drown in the sea,' you can get excited agreement and a lot of likes. If until then you were a little racist nobody, of course you suddenly feel great," Reschke said.

„Wenn man also nicht der Meinung ist, dass alle Flüchtlinge Schmarotzer sind, die verjagt, verbrannt oder vergast werden sollten, dann sollte man das ganz deutlich kund tun. Dagegen halten. Mund aufmachen. Haltung zeigen“, so Panorama-Chefin Anja Reschke in Ihrem Tagesthemen-Kommentar zur Hetze im Internet.

Posted by tagesschau on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reschke said one couldn't simply ignore racists as idiots, saying "these aren't just words. In fact, there are already fire attacks against refugee accommodations. Hateful rants online have triggered group-dynamic processes."

While some people are now being prosecuted for online hate speech, Reschke argues that the public can't simply leave it to the authorities to restrict extremist views to the fringes of public discourse.

"The hate commenters must understand that this society won't tolerate this... If you're not of the opinion that all refugees are freeloaders that should be hunted down, burned up or gassed, you should announce that clearly."

The clip of Reschke's commentary was shared over 65,000 times on Facebook, and while many commenters were supportive, others made the very points that she had warned against, accusing refugees of being lazy, ungrateful, not really in need or drug-takers.

SEE ALSO: Refugees live in fear of German far-right

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