German TV channel ARD is facing huge backlash for broadcasting what’s being described as ‘anti-Islamic’ propaganda by lampooning Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The channel recently aired the mocked-up image of Merkel wearing Islamic dress causing huge outrage on the social media platforms. Many said that the broadcast resembled those used by anti-Islam movement Pegida.
Germany’s anti-immigrant protest group Pegida says it stands for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamification of the West. Using placards displaying Merkel wearing Islamic headscarf, it had attracted tens of thousands to protest marches in cities around Germany earlier this year.
The channel bosses, however, have denied the charges of pushing ‘anti-Islamic’ propaganda addding that its portrayal of Merkel was ‘misunderstood.’
“We welcome the many criticisms of the graphic in yesterday’s report from Berlin and we are sorry some disagreed with our portrayal of the chancellor or even misunderstood,” the programme said in a statement published on Facebook.
Many of its viewers took to Facebook to express their disgust on the broadcast describing it as anti-Islamic propaganda, ‘manipulative’ and ‘appalling.’
One viewer wrote, “This is not constructive journalism.”
Comparing the ARD report to the tactics of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany, German journalist and author Jakob Augstein wrote on Facebook, “Don’t the colleagues know the anti-Islamic propaganda of the NPD? I don’t like the word but I consider it to be a scandal.”
Germany had taken the lead in opening its border for Syrian refugees fleeing the internal war after the death of three-year-old Syrian child Aylan Kurdi had shocked the world.
According to reports, Germany plans to accept close to 800,000 refugees this year alone. However, according to a leaked report, the figure has been described at around 1.5 million.