Endangering children and young people through hate, disinformation and conspiracy theories is pursued

KJM focus analysis on offerings from alternative media and influencers

Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, conspiracy stories and fake news about the virus and the governmental countermeasures have been circulating en masse on the Internet. Dr. Marc Jan Eumann, Chairman of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM): "Representatives of 'alternative media' or influencers with a wide reach downplay the danger posed by the virus. They warn of a supposed lying press and suspect sinister machinations of elites acting in the background. These forms of disinformation can cause lasting fear, uncertainty or disorientation among children and young people and must be punished. The Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media has therefore asked the state media authorities to conduct a broad-based investigation."

In the focus analysis "Alternative media and influencers as multipliers of hate, disinformation and conspiracy theories," the 14 state media authorities examined more than 700 relevant websites, YouTube channels and social media offerings. In around 35 percent of the cases, they identified an initial suspicion of content that was punishable, harmful to minors or harmful to development.

The proportion of offerings for which an initial suspicion was identified varied significantly across the different platforms: VK and Telegram offerings in particular were found to have an initial suspicion comparatively frequently. There was also a noticeable increase in the number of suspected cases with right-wing extremist and right-wing populist offerings, as well as with offerings from the right-wing esoteric spectrum.

Dr. Marc Jan Eumann: "The unobjective, dramatizing and sometimes inflammatory style in many of the offerings examined is particularly worrying with regard to the effect on children and young people. This is particularly true for content that offensively rejects the free democratic basic order. The state media authorities are now examining the suspected cases identified in the focus analysis and taking the necessary further steps in each case. In the event of violations of the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media, the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media will decide on the resulting measures."

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