Far-right party allowed to distribute CDs to students | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 06.02.2010

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Far-right party allowed to distribute CDs to students

German authorities say there are no legal grounds to ban the distribution of CDs targeting school children by the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD).

Demonstrators with NPD flags

The NPD promotes an anti-immigration agenda

The head of the federal department for media harmful to young persons, Elke Monssen-Engberding, said the CD merely contained political opinions and therefore could not be banned.

She said there had to be a balance between protecting teenagers and respecting the right to freedom of speech.

"Political content alone is not enough to warrant a ban," she said, adding that the CD did not contain calls for violence.

Monssen-Engberding however suggested that schools should nonetheless try to prevent the material from being distributed to students. A ban, however, she said was not justified.

Disappointment over decision

The NPD, Germany's leading far-right party, has welcomed the decision on their website.

The party could "continue to try to transmit its ideas to young people, schoolchildren and first-time voters", NPD member Claus Cremer said.

According to Monssen-Engberding's office, the NPD has been distributing free CDs with songs and interviews by party members outside schools since 2004.

Police in the state of Lower Saxony had requested for the CD to be banned arguing that it contains elements of Nazi ideology.

The interior ministry of Lower Saxony reacted with disappointment to the decision. "We find it strange that the CD has not been classified as dangerous to youth," a ministry spokesman said.

The office for the protection of the constitution said that "independent of this decision we still regard the CD as dangerous."

The material conveyed an anti-foreigner agenda, a spokeswoman said. "We therefore will continue to work with schools to raise this issue with both teachers and parents."

The NPD, which has an overtly anti-immigration program, is under official observation by the German office for the protection of the constitution which describes the party as racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist.

Although the party has no seats in the federal parliament, it is represented in two of 16 German state legislatures. Attempts to ban the party have failed in the past.

Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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