Breaking: rules for naming religious or migrant backgrounds in crime reports changed hours after London attacks
|New press strategy: if you don't know the nature of the problem,|
you won't vote to fix the nature of the problem
As of March 22, 2017, "press reports about criminal acts must guard that mentioning the religious or other minority background of criminals or suspects in crime reports does not lead to discriminatory stereotypes. As a rule, the affiliation shall not be named unless in public interest."
The change comes through the German Press Council's (Pressrat's) amendment of § 12.1 of the press report code. Under the previous code, press reports could mention the religious, ethnic or minority background of criminals and suspects as long as the report provided a factual reference, but reporters were to be aware that such mention could fuel stereotypes.
Ironically, after the mass assaults by migrants of north African backgrounds in Cologne last year, critics had been calling for the German Press Council to completely eliminate § 12.1 and take the muzzle off of reporters. Instead, the German Press Council has strengthened the section.
There are strong incentives for press agencies to follow the regulations, as any individual can file a complaint with the German Press Council and sanctions may follow for the news agency.