The Twelfth 2013: A critique of German press coverage: by Marcel
It’s a ritual repeated every year: Nationalist rioting on the 12th of July but the sole blame is put on the Orange Order by the media. But this is not only the case with British or Irish media it is the same with the German press. Here are some snapshots about the coverage by the mainstream German newspapers:
1. “taz”: the largest, left-leaning daily newspaper:
The headline reads: “Militante Protestanten haben sich in Belfast zwei Nächte in Folge mit der Polizei Kämpfe geliefert. Auslöser sind die jährlichen Oraniermärsche probritischer Protestanten.“ (translation: “Militant Protestants are fighting the police for two nights. These riots have been caused by the Orange parades done by pro-British Protestants“). The article also lables the parades as “provocation” and repeats the old fary-tale that the Orange Order is marching through Catholic areas.
2. “Die Zeit”: the largest weekly journal, with a daily online feature:
This paper produced a series of reports and put a few videos online. In fairness, they initially attempted to gain a more balanced view but in the end, again, put the sole blame on the Protestants: “Protestant radicals rioting for the third night in a row”, a headline reads. And again, the claim is repeated that the Orange Order wants to march through a Catholic neighbourhood. As well all know, the return parade only passes some shops, the protesters have to walk down half a mile from the residential homes to be offended. In addition, some protesters travel 50 miles to be offended.
3. “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”: the largest, Conservative daily newspaper:
Has put some videos on its webpage. In its reports, the newspaper doesn’t add anything new to the arguments or claims cited above: the violence is linked solely to the Orange Order.
4. “Die Welt”: Conservative Daily: a Conservative daily newspaper:
This paper tries to add a new perspective: it links the violence with the violence surrounding the flag protests. It argues that while the flag protests have been deescalated for half a year, it has now resurfaced. Or in other words: the same people who were rioting at flag protests are now rioting because of the Twelfth. It really struck me reading such nonsense journalism!
5. “Süddeutsche Zeitung”: liberal daily newspaper:
These reports are the worst of all. It starts with the headline: “Parades of violence”! The whole Twelfth is not a cultural event, but a spectre of violence. Protestants are fearful of the “Catholic vision for a united Ireland” because they fear economic disadvantages. The report goes on celebrating the work of the parades commission while labelling the Orange Order as simply provocative.
There is a German word for that kind of journalism: “Schweinejournalismus” (For those not familiar with German, please google it!”
In almost all German press coverage, the violence is exclusively linked to the Orange Order. Some newspapers are more open and put the blame directly on the Orange Order. There is no mentioning of Catholic violence, the events in East Belfast are ignored. In addition, the quite positive events in Londonderry are ignored: because there was no violence surrounding Orange parades, it seems to be not worth reporting it.
This is my challenge to the German media: Come over and travel to Northern Ireland. Jump into a taxi and tell the taxi driver where to go to: Cluan Place, Twadell Avenue, Glenbryn. After that you are welcome to join the thousands of people on the Lisburn road watching the Twelfth. You may also walk down with my lodge through the Holylands and witness how a ten-year old girl was attacked with a bottle (and left in shock) and then walk down the Ormeau Road and see the protesters taking pictures of us at the bridge – with Alex Maskey in the middle of all. Why were they taking pictures of us? Are they all journalists from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”?
Marcel is a Loyalist who lives in Germany. He is a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland and a regular commentator on the political scene here. This is his first contribution to longkeshinsideout–but hopefully not his last. Marcels’s own blogpage is worth visiting….