September 13, 2022 | NDR

ISD’s Christian Schwieter on the dangers and realities behind alternative media outlets

ISD’s Christian Schwieter, extremism expert from ISD Germany, features in German political media magazine ZAPP from NDR‘s documentary on the world of self-described alternative media sources. In the 45-minute documentary titled “Brave New Parallel World – ‘Alternative Media’ Networks”, ZAPP spotlights platforms like Austrian TV station Auf1 and other self-described ‘alt-media’ such as the right-wing extremist Compact magazine or Apolut.

Speaking about these media alternatives, Christian points out that despite the multitude of new online platforms, there is no clear alternative to big names like Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, etc. He explains that it’s difficult to get people to adopt to new interfaces, and that far-right media personalities almost prefer mixed audiences and not just like-minded people as they “seek controversy and agitation with the political opponent.”

“For these media entrepreneurs or political activists, it is then simply no fun to be active on these platforms”, because you can only address those there who you have already convinced, Christian explains.

While he confirms there is a radicalisation danger through these right-wing online networks, Christian warns not to overestimate the reach of the outlets: “It’s dangerous, but we shouldn’t believe everything that is said by these self-described media outlets about their own success.”

The documentary will be broadcasted on NDR television on 21 September, but is already available for streaming in the ARD media library.