Discharge and no ‘quarks’ moderation: WDR ends cooperation with Nemi El-Hassan

The West German Broadcasting Corporation (WDR) has finally decided against working with the journalist Nemi El-Hassan. The public broadcaster in Cologne announced this to the German press agency on Tuesday.

The journalist had previously published a guest article in the “Berliner Zeitung” in which she criticized the WDR for dealing with her in the past few weeks. The broadcaster said the reason for his decision was: “There is no longer any trust for future cooperation.”

Nemi El-Hassan was supposed to be the new moderator of “Quarks”

The whole case of the employment of El-Hassan is related to accusations of anti-Semitism that have arisen. The journalist was originally supposed to moderate the science program “Quarks”. It was scheduled to start in November.

In the context of El-Hassan’s new task, “Bild” reported on its participation in an Al-Kuds demo in Berlin a few years ago. In the past, anti-Semitic slogans and symbols of the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah movement were repeatedly shouted at the annual Al-Kuds demonstrations in the capital. El-Hassan had distanced himself from the demo in a statement after the media report. She is also accused of having liked posts that are critical of Israel on the Internet. In one case, terrorists broke out of an Israeli maximum security prison.

It was checked whether Nemi El-Hassan could work behind the camera

In the further course of the debate, the WDR decided against presenting El-Hassan in the science program. The reason given by the broadcaster was that “the dispute over her person has led to an inappropriate politicization of the renowned science program”. The ARD-Anstalt had then initially further checked whether it could possibly work as an author for “Quarks”.

Nemi El-Hassan: “The widely vaunted culture of debate is in bad shape”

On Tuesday El-Hassan accused the WDR in the guest article in the “Berliner Zeitung” in the course of the debate initiated by the “Bild” report that he wanted to pull himself out of the line of fire. “The reaction of the WDR exemplarily shows that things are going badly with the widely vaunted culture of debate in this country”, criticized El-Hassan.

Was it a “targeted campaign to dismantle a person”?

In the guest article, the journalist also spoke of a targeted campaign. The “picture” accused them of wanting to dismantle them. “Of course, the Bild newspaper is also allowed to research the past of a public figure and ask questions,” wrote El-Hassan. “But there is a line between critical journalistic work and a targeted campaign to dismantle a person.”

Witnesses contradict Gil Ofarim: Doubts about anti-Semitic insult


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Nemi El-Hassan’s guest contribution causes a sensation

The campaign against them had been prepared for a long time in right-wing forums. The aim there is to push as many people of Muslim faith as possible out of the public eye. Accusations of anti-Semitism are used specifically because they are particularly effective in making someone impossible in the long run.

The right-wing extremists are of course not interested in protecting Jewish life, rather the accusation of anti-Semitism is only a means to an end. Because: “In the country of the perpetrators – understandably – nobody wants to put themselves in a situation that could suggest that they are not vehemently involved in combating the societal problem of anti-Semitism.”

WDR sees the relationship of trust as burdened

The public broadcaster reacted to the guest post on Tuesday evening as follows: The accusation that the WDR makes the selection of presenters dependent on a “picture” campaign is nonsensical. “Regardless of the media coverage and public pressure in the Nemi El-Hassan case, the WDR advised carefully and extensively, because those responsible did not carelessly hinder the young journalist’s career, but wanted to give her a chance.”

It was also said that the decisive factor was their behavior in social networks and how they were dealt with by the WDR. “WDR only found out relevant information – such as deleting likes – from the media, although it was in close contact with Nemi El-Hassan. This had put a strain on the relationship of trust from the start.”

The El-Hassan’s case had been debated in the two previous meetings of the Broadcasting Council as a supervisory body at WDR. In the first discussion at the end of September, numerous members of the Broadcasting Council spoke up and, for the most part, spoke out against El-Hassan’s employment with WDR in whatever form. In the second meeting a few days ago, the opinions expressed differed more widely.