In a short clip from a late-night programme screened on the German state broadcaster ZDF at the end of last month, comedian Jan Böhmermann sits in front of a Turkish flag beneath a small, framed portrait of Erdoğan, reading out a poem that accuses the Turkish president of, among other things, “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds and slapping Christians while watching child porn”.Más...
The scene was broadcast shortly after it emerged that Turkey had demanded the deletion of another satirical song from the German comedy show extra3, and Böhmermann’s poem was deliberately framed as a test of the boundaries of satire. Throughout his reading the comedian is advised by a “media lawyer” who tells him that this is precisely the sort of thing that does not qualify as satire.
“What could happen now?” Böhmermann asks after finishing the poem. “Potentially they’ll take it off their website,” his sidekick tells him. And so the German state broadcaster did, explaining that the show “didn’t live up to the requirements that ZDF makes for the quality of satire programmes”.
On 6 April it emerged that Germany’s state prosecutor was investigating Böhmermann for violation of the little-used paragraph 103 of the criminal code, which concerns insulting organs or representatives of foreign states. At worst the comedian was facing a prison sentence of up to three years – though until the Turkish government filed its formal request for Böhmermann’s prosecution, few seemed to think that the case would go ahead.