Hanover's new mayor, Belit Onay, cannot easily accept threats and insults on social media. Posts relevant to criminal law have been reported, said the Greens politician of the German Press Agency. He had worked with the police from day one.
"The proceedings are still ongoing. To my knowledge, one has been able to identify a person who has posted very offensive and racist comments on social media," said Onay. "I don't want to leave that alone – these people shouldn't be able to comment on what they want." The 39-year-old nevertheless advised to deal with hate posts in a relaxed manner. The Turkish-born Onay is Germany's first mayor with a migration background in a state capital.
Police are investigating criminal relevance
The police checked on his account what was criminally relevant, said Onay. "The hostility was very massive – not only in the way it was done, but also in terms of the amount." Especially on election evening, the right-wing scene was enjoying itself online. "There is a lot coming from the right spectrum, for them I am a hate object."
Onay took office on November 22. Previously, the SPD had provided the mayor in the state capital of Lower Saxony for over 70 years. The early election was triggered by the town hall affair about prohibited salary increases, which forced former mayor Stefan Schostok (SPD) to resign.
"Serene handling – there is no other way"
In view of the insults, Onay Lower Saxony's City Day had assured the solidarity and support of the Mayors' Conference. The religion or ancestry of an applicant for the office of mayor should have no significance. The mayor of the municipality of Estorf near Nienburg, Arnd Focke (SPD), resigned from office at the end of December because of right-wing extremist attacks.
Onay said he could "understand officials who say they no longer want to do this to them". But he also emphasized: "From my point of view, there is no other way than dealing with it in a reasonably relaxed manner. Constantly worrying would totally limit your own life. The baiting aims to stir up fear. I try to avoid that. "
Real world vs. social media
But he also noticed a "stark difference" between the real world and the world of social media: "The day after the election, after looking into the social networks, I had the feeling that the mob had to rage outside the door In reality, the people outside were and are very nice, "said Onay. "In this respect, you have to separate that: Hanover is much more relaxed and friendlier than some people on social networks. Still, it doesn't get past you, it has already burdened me." However, at the moment he is "not so active on social networks, the time factor does not allow it".
At the instigation of Lower Saxony, the Federal Council is currently examining new identification requirements on the Internet. This should help the authorities to track down hate message authors. Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) wants users of social networks and gaming platforms to be obliged to provide their name, address and date of birth when registering.
"The Internet is not a Sherwood Forest for Outlaws"
It is far too difficult for the authorities to find the originators of hate messages, Pistorius said recently. Procedures would therefore have to be stopped frequently.
The proposal stipulates that in future not only social networks will have to report and delete illegal content, but also gaming platforms. There, too, there is increasing hate crime, for example when using the messenger functions. "The Internet is not a Sherwood forest for outlaws," said Pistorius, alluding to the Robin Hood myth. But he also emphasized: "We do not want to be given a real name." Authorities should be allowed to query the data for the prosecution or fraudulent crime.
. (tagsToTranslate) Boris Pistorius (t) Hanover (t) Hate Speech (t) Hetze (t) Identification (t) Internet (t) Obligatory Name (t) Lord Mayor (t) Social Media