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Far-right AfD to launch own ‘newsroom’ in order to bypass German media’s ‘fake news’

The Association of German Journalists accused the Alternative for Germany (AfD) of opening their own propaganda wing, after Focus magazine reported on Thursday that the far-right party are to set up their own newsroom in Berlin.

Far-right AfD to launch own ‘newsroom’ in order to bypass German media’s ‘fake news’
AfD leaders Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland. Photo: DPA

AfD co-leader Alice Weidel described the initiative as “an innovative turning point in the Federal Republic of Germany.”

According to Weidel, the reason behind it is the party’s ambivalent relationship with the media.

“As long as the AfD is ignored by many media outlets or targeted and run down by fake news, this can be the only approach,” Weidel told Focus.

In addition to the set-up of a traditional press office, about 20 other employees are to be responsible for communications, Focus reported based on insider information. The operation of the ‘newsroom’ will moreover be similar to that of those run by journalistic editorial staff.

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Emphasis will be placed on the sharing of AfD content on social media. Employees will work around the clock in shifts. Three of them will specialize in research and identify topics that Weidel says “are swept under the carpet that they can prepare in a journalistically wholesome way for the general public.” For this purpose, AfD parliamentary group quarters at the Jakob Kaiser House in Berlin – not far from the Reichstag – will also have their own TV studio.

But the decision was quickly dismissed as “propaganda” by a journalists' association.

“We see this very critically,” a spokesperson from the German Federation of Journalists told The Local.

With this newsroom, the AfD “want to have their own form of truth,” the spokesperson added. “But this smells like propaganda.”

The federation moreover questions how the party will be able to finance the “really expensive” operation with 20 employees working around the clock.

SEE ALSO: 'Merkel is insane': meet the woman leading the AfD into the elections

TRAVEL NEWS

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

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