October 27, 2017 / 5:13 PM / a year ago

German far-right party wants journalists' private data

BERLIN, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) wants access to data about the ethnic backgrounds and political views of journalists who want to cover the party’s national congress in December after it became the third largest party in parliament.

Journalists who register to cover the conference in Hanover are being asked to check a box in which they agreed to the collection, storage and use of personal data provided, such as name, medium and press pass number, as well as “special data”.

The form references a section in Germany’s data protection law, which lists such “special data” as including racial and ethnic background, political views, religious or philosophical convictions, union membership, health or sexual orientation.

Other parties require basic information for registration of journalists but do not ask for such personal details.

The party, which rails against what it calls the “Islamisation of Europe” and “fake news” coverage by mainstream news outlets, declined to comment to the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper, which first reported the issue on Friday.

The Berlin data protection official is investigating the issue, the newspaper reported.

“This is an unacceptable intrusion into the private affairs of journalists,” Hendrik Zoerner, spokesman for the German Journalists Association, was quoted as telling the paper. “We call on the AfD to immediately remove the required agreement.”

No comment was immediately available to Reuters from the party, the Berlin data protection official or the journalists’ group.

The AfD won early 13 percent of vote on Sept. 24, making it the third largest party in the Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, and the first far-right group to move into the legislature in more than half a century.

German civil rights groups are mobilising to stage a large protest in Hanover at the congress on Dec. 2. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Hans-Edzard Busemann; Editing by Alison Williams)

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