Press freedom

ADR deputies file complaint against Tageblatt editor-in-chief

MPs Fred Keup and Fernand Kartheiser in front of the public prosecutor’s office.  Photo: ADR official website

MPs Fred Keup and Fernand Kartheiser in front of the public prosecutor’s office.  Photo: ADR official website

Two deputies of the right-wing conservative party ADR on 13 January filed a complaint against Tageblatt editor-in-chief Dhiraj Sabharwal after he had called the party a group of “vile scumbags” during an RTL radio show with other media personalities.

As well as Sabharwal, guests on the radio broadcast on 9 January also included Marc Schlammes from the Wort and Christoph Bumb from Reporter.lu. In a discussion about politics and the ADR’s strategy, Sabharwal had explained that “there are moments in a country too, where you have to say, it’s enough.” The editor-in-chief continued, saying that the ideas and behaviour promoted by the ADR made them “deadly dangerous”.

Following this, two deputies, Fred Keup and Fernand Kartheiser, filed a complaint against Sabharwal, saying in an open letter on their website that, though they didn’t want to impede the freedom of expression, Sabharwal’s words were personal insults.

This isn’t the first clash between the newspaper and the party. Recently ADR MP Roy Reding, in an anti-vaccine Telegram group chat, had leaked the phone number of a Tageblatt journalist. This had led to death threats directed at the journalist--and later the RTL news site--by members of the group. Reding had also confirmed to the journalist that he was against the vaccine.

Tageblatt has been covering the pandemic and the anti-vaccine and conspiracy theorist movement in Luxembourg, as well as covering the increasingly violent protests occurring in the grand duchy.

Several commentators on Twitter criticised the ADR’s actions against Tageblatt, calling out their right-wing extremism and attack on the freedom of press.