Merkel Says Attacks on Critical Media Don't Jibe With Democracy

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim at populist rhetoric that portrays the media as enemies, saying it’s unacceptable to attack critical journalism in a democracy.

“All of us who are committed to democratic values and human rights cannot accept it when journalists are insulted, threatened or attacked,” Merkel said at a magazine publishers’ convention in Berlin on Monday.

“We must not stand by when a pluralistic media landscape is called into question or portrayed as ‘the lying press,”’ she said.

While Merkel didn’t say whom she had in mind, the “lying press” label has been applied to mainstream media by supporters of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany. The far-right party, which vilifies Merkel for refusing to close the border to refugees, is the biggest opposition group in the German parliament.

“A lack of respect starts with the choice of words,” Merkel said. “Sadly, it’s often not a big step from demeaning, aggressive language to violence.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.