East frisian jokes as “volksverhetzung”

What German investigating authorities deal with due to vaguely formulated paragra.

Last week, the radio station ffn announced that criminal charges had been filed because the company had loved to pay the presenter Timm Busche funf Ostfriesenwitze erzahlen. These were well within the scope of this category of jokes and did not touch on either historical or sexual taboos.

Differently than the picture newspaper reported, the public prosecutor’s office Osnabruck does not investigate so far however yet. This is however only because the ubermittlungsweg between authorities somewhat longer lasts and is to be counted on the fact that the announcement there only after next week arrives.

East Frisian jokes as'volksverhetzung'

East Frisia. Map: Onno. License: CC-BY-SA.

Then the prosecution (which in the past has attracted attention for ordering house and computer searches of apparently innocent Trojan horse victims) must decide whether it has jurisdiction over the Hanover-based broadcaster and whether the complainant’s allegations can objectively be considered to be a so-called "incitement to hatred "Initial suspicion" for violation of § 130 of the Criminal Code (StGB) is sufficient. This with "incitement of the people" has proven to have considerable potential for abuse in the past, but has not yet been clarified. Instead, in the last year, the scope of the crime has been extended, adding to the vagueness and the negative impact on the freedom of the press, the freedom of expression, the freedom of art, and the freedom of science.

However, at ffn little concerned about this potential for abuse, and instead uses the advertising effect of the ad. On Friday, the station devoted an entire morning to the topic and loved to hear the CDU secretary general Ulf Thiele from Lower Saxony, who comes from Leer, tell his favorite East Frisian joke. And Timm Busche continues to tease his new Aurich-born comedienne Lea Rosenboom with the historical humor form.

It is not yet known who filed the complaint. According to the Osnabruck police department, the author entered them into a web form, leaving an IP number, which is why he is considered to be "partially anonymous" and is trying to get his name and address. It is unlikely that he will face a trial for false suspicion according to § 164 StGB. For the case that the announcement turned out as a publicity stunt, however, a procedure would be possible because of pretending a criminal offence after § 145d StGB.

East Frisian jokes were especially popular in the 1970s. In a question-and-answer scheme, they address a supposed backwardness of the inhabitants of northwest Lower Saxony, who today speak almost exclusively Low or High German. Their historical language is relatively different from German and closely related to English, as evidenced by the phrase, the same in both idioms "Bread and Butter and Cheese is proper English and proper Fries" Illustrated.

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