Satire is a crime in Germany

The Germans have been making fun of foreign leaders – especially American Presidents – for as long as I can remember, so I strongly suspect its law against “insulting foreign leaders” is only enforced if said foreign leader is humorless, self-righteous and thin-skinned enough to officially complain about it.

Why, hello, Mr. Erdogan, we were just talking about you:

The German government has approved a criminal inquiry into a comic who mocked the Turkish president, Chancellor Angel Merkel announced.

By law, the government must approve any use of an article of the criminal code on insulting foreign leaders.

Mrs Merkel stressed that the courts would have the final word.

And she added that her government would move to repeal the article. Turkey sought the prosecution after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was mocked.

Prosecutors will have to decide whether to proceed against comedian Jan Boehmermann, who crudely mocked Mr Erdogan in a poem. If convicted he could face a fine or a prison sentence.

Some experts say he has a strong defence because his poem could be seen as part of a wider piece of satire about free speech, rather than a deliberate insult, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness reports from Berlin.

[…]

The poem was broadcast by ZDF television two weeks ago. The public TV channel has decided not to broadcast his weekly satire programme this week because of the furore surrounding Boehmermann.

You’d think the Germans, of all people, would appreciate the value of satirizing foreign leaders:

charlie-chaplin-in-the-gr-004

 

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