Deutsche Post Must Deliver Far-Right Party Flyers
It is under observation by Germany's domestic intelligence agencies because of its far-right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic views, but the country's postal service is still required to deliver mass mailings from the National Democratic Party (NPD), the country's Federal Court of Justice ruled on Thursday. The Karlsruhe-based court held that Deutsche Post is required to deliver a periodical publication from the NPD, a democratically elected party that holds seats in the state parliaments of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, under German law.
Previously, a district court in Leipzig, and later a higher regional court in Dresden, also in the eastern state of Saxony, had ruled that Deutsche Post did not have to accept the order to deliver Klartext, a publication with a circulation of 200,000 put out by the party's state parliamentary group, to households in the Leipzig area.
"The Federal Court of Justice's ruling is a victory for freedom of speech," Holger Apfel, who leads the party in the state parliament in Saxony, said in a statement.
During oral arguments in the case in June, the justices at the federal court had made clear that the political orientation of a publication could play no role in determining whether Deutsche Post is obligated to accept and deliver mail.
Deutsche Post had argued that Klartext is a direct mailing and cannot be considered to be a publication and that, under European Union regulations, it is not required to deliver such mail. It also argued that the party could not use the freedom of press in its defense because that law applied to publishing houses and not political parties.
Deutsche Post Ordered to Remain Neutral
Meanwhile, representatives of the NPD had argued that under German postal law and anti-discrimination laws, Deutsche Post as the market leader is required to deliver magazines and that it has no right to make political assessments.
Ultimately, the court ruled that Klartext is actually a publication and that both freedom of press and the requirement of Deutsche Post to remain neutral applied in the case.
In its most recent issue, an article in the far-right flyer under the headline "First Germany, then Europe," alleges that the permanent euro bailout fund is no less than the "effective abolishing of Germany's statehood." In another piece, Klartext claims that asylum seekers from Tunisia and Libya in Germany are being sent exclusively to Saxony and warns that the areas surrounding asylum-seeker accommodations are rampant with crime, including "muggings, theft and even rape." Another article describes Greece as a country with a "siesta culture." In typical NPD manner, the leaflet reminds readers that "Islam doesn't belong to Germany We don't want mosques with minarets, veiled women and certainly no Shariah! The national, cultural and occidental identity of our homeland must be protected." Another accuses Saxony's commissioner for foreign residents, whom it dutifully notes is a German-American, of wanting to "replace the ancestral population with a multicultural society."
dsl -- with wire reports