Protesters gather in front of German parliament Bundestag, during a demonstration against the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Berlin, Germany, 21 January 2024. EPA-EFE/FILIP SINGER


German court hammers news outlet Correctiv over ‘secret meeting’ story


German non-profit news group Correctiv has been hit by the courts over its report about an alleged “conspiratorial” Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) meeting.

At the “secretive” gathering, the news outlet claimed several politicians and others discussed the possible deportation of 2 million migrants from Germany.

A number of those attending the meeting subsequently sued Correctiv. On February 27, the regional court of Hamburg issued a preliminary injunction against the news outlet over falsely reporting on one participant, according to Apollo News.

Ulrich Vosgeraus, a lawyer, was present at the alleged “secret meeting” where remigration plans were said to have been discussed.

Vosgeraus stated that quotations were taken out of context in the Correctiv article. He demanded the removal of three statements.

The judge agreed with the removal of one passage, the core point of the plaintiffs’ objections.

Regarding a lecture on the German electoral system, Correctiv had written: “Vosgerau considers the suggestion that a model letter could be developed before the coming elections to cast doubt on the legality of elections to be conceivable: the more people participate, he agrees, the higher the probability of success.”

The judges ruled that the final sentence, for readers, would foster the belief that Vosgerau had essentially stated “that the likelihood of success of election challenge complaints would be greater the more complaints were filed”.

“This is procedurally untrue,” stated the court.

That was because Vosgerau had argued “that he had actually expressed that a mass approach to election challenge complaints is not advisable and the success of an election challenge complaint does not depend on how often it is filed but rather on how well it is substantiated”, the judges concluded.

The court decided in favour of Correctiv on two other points of objection.

Vosgerau told NIUS media outlet he regarded the ruling as a “huge success”.

Correctiv was compelled to acknowledge, for the first time, that it had only made “assessments” rather than factual accusations in its report when seven participants at the gathering had submitted testimonies.

This undermines apparent claims that the purpose of the meeting was fundamentally motivated by overt racism.

The whole affair made national news after it became widely known that the German outlet had stated the “deportations” of migrants was discussed at the “clandestine” get-together.

Correctiv‘s “revelation” of the seemingly secret meeting in November, following wider media reference, led to the eruption of mass protests across Germany over the weekend of January 19-21, followed by further demonstrations.

The news outlet later backtracked on its story.

It also turned turned out the magazine had previously engaged in several of its own “secret meetings” with the Federal Government, including allegedly with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.