Google Germany slammed for Neo-Nazi YouTube clips

Touchy subject

The German public broadcaster has decided to "do a Panorama" by highlighting YouTube's hosting of Neo-Nazi clips and World War II propaganda films.

Reuters reports that tonight's Report Mainz on the SDR channel will go big on banned footage of Nazi rock band Landser and excerpts from 1940s race hate film Jud Suess, among others.

Politicians have lined up to give the site a kicking. Social Democrat spokesman Dieter Wiefelspuetz said: "Publishing these films amounts to aiding and abetting incitement of the people." He has asked federal prosecutors to investigate. Germany's strictly enforced "incitement of the people" - or volksverhetzung - laws forbid material which could stir up hatred against minorities.

The European Jewish Press reports that the Central Council of Jews in Germany is considering pressing for criminal charges to be brought against Google. Vice president Solomon Korn said: "I expect the prosecutor's office, other relevant authorities and, if necessary, the German government to take action against this."

Internet child protection group Jugendschutz.net told Report Mainz it has made more than 100 complaints to Google Germany but not received a response.

Neo-Nazism has been on the rise in Germany as a criminal and political issue. While it's an Easy-Bake outcry for the programme makers, it is surprising that Google has allowed some of the clips to remain on YouTube for almost a year.

We've been here several times before, of course. Most recently Panorama, the BBC's flagship current affairs show, got its knickers in a twist earlier over footage of schoolchildren scrapping. In such instances Google's spin stormtroopers usually play the "community rules" card.

Such a hive mind stance ought to be slightly less credible in this case, where the footage is specifically banned in law. Google's recent rollout of in-video ads also makes its public line that power is devolved on YouTube seem even more trite than it ever did.

It is yet to comment on the programme. ®

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