Dusseldorf (dpa) - In the future, the nationality of all suspects in North Rhine-Westphalia should be mentioned in press information, if this is established beyond doubt.
The decree on press and public relations of the police in North Rhine-Westphalia is currently being revised accordingly, the Ministry of Interior announced on Monday in Dusseldorf. The practice is different in the individual federal states, and this is likely to remain so.
«I have been promoting transparency since I took office. In the future, we should implement this even more consistently in the public relations work of the police », said Minister of the Interior Herbert Reul (CDU) the planned change. In the future it should apply: "We call all nationalities of suspects, we know for sure - of course, those of German suspects. I am firmly convinced that this transparency is the best way against political farmer catching. "Previously, the" Bild "newspaper reported.
The previous decree states that "membership of a minority is only referred to in the internal and external reporting if it is absolutely necessary for the understanding of a fact or for the establishment of a factual reference."
The German Press Council welcomed "that the police provide the press with information about the nationality of suspects". Press Secretary Spokesman Volker Stennei continued, "The decision of whether nationality is relevant for reporting must be carefully considered and taken into account by each ethical editorial staff. This can and must be decided by no authority. »
In addition, Stennei said, "The mere fact that an agency mentions nationality does not justify its use in reporting." According to the Press Council's policy, "there must be a valid public interest in the origin of a suspect." This is usually the case for particularly serious acts such as murder or terrorism. The Press Code also recommends, in the reporting of crime, that "mentioning the alleged affiliation of the suspects or offenders to ethnic, religious or other minorities does not lead to a discriminatory generalization of individual misconduct".
Within Germany, the practice is not uniform: in Schleswig-Holstein, for example, the nationality should continue to be called only if the context makes this necessary. "This scheme has proven itself," said a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
In Thuringia, according to the Interior Ministry, there is neither a decree to mention nationalities in press releases, nor is such a plan in planning. "It is in principle at the discretion of the police officer to decide whether the naming of nationality is relevant to the facts," said a ministry spokesman. At the same time, the police should follow the press code, as a spokeswoman for the state police headquarters said. "Ultimately, decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis," said the spokeswoman.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, no decree is planned, in future press information to name the nationality of all suspects, as far as they are beyond doubt, said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Mainz. It is named if it is considered to be reasonable for investigative purposes or if there is "a legitimate public interest" in accordance with the Press Code.
And even in Baden-Wuerttemberg press information from the police no general mention of the nationality of suspects in crime is planned. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said in Stuttgart, the nationality will be published in consultation with the prosecutors and courts involved when it plays a role in the assessment of a crime - for simple injuries, for example, it is not mentioned.