German Green lawmaker Volker Beck is taking legal action against Pegida and some of its followers. He had received hundreds of threatening comments including death threats on his Facebook account.
According to several media reports, Beck is pressing charges against those responsible at anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Pegida movement as well as 18 individuals who hate posted offensive and threatening comments on his Facebook account.
"One of my posts on Facebook had 430 comments, 35 of which contained violent and/or death threats without anyone in charge [of the movement] attempting to moderate," Beck said on his Facebook page.
"The named persons openly called for me to be castrated, circumcized, suffer violence, they even called for me to be butchered kosher style," he told Berlin prosecutors according to a report by Germany's "Funke Media Group." The comments were in reaction to a post where Beck had called for religious freedom for Muslims and Jews, including the right to butcher livestock Kosher/Halal style.
Beck has criticized the government for not doing enough to pursue hate speech on the Internet and social media in particular. On Twitter, he also said that "we don't need tougher laws against hate speech, we need more resources for prosecutors in that area."
In mid-December, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced that Facebook and other social media networks had agreed to delete comments that violate Facebook's community standards 24 hours after publication.
The move was hailed as a success for Maas, who had set up a task force involving the Justice Ministry and representatives of social media networks and Google in September.
Justice Minister Maas has been slammed for not doing enough to force Facebook to rein in hate speech
But critics, like Beck, said on his Facebook page that "deleting comments is not enough, prosecutors need to get involved here" as otherwise the perpetrators would get off scot-free.
Facebook has repeatedly been slated for only enforcing its community standards where nudity is involved, even in posts about breastfeeding, for example. Where hate speech and offensive comments are involved, the social network has so far been more lenient.
ng/jil (AFP, KNA)