German media boss admits government tells state broadcasters what to report

German media boss admits government tells state broadcasters what to report
(Image via Nova Makedonija)

A retired media boss at a major German state broadcaster has admitted his network and others take orders from the government on what — and what not — to report.

National public service broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), which was recently forced into a humiliating apology for their silence on migrant violence and sex assault is being drawn into a fresh scandal after one of their former bureau chiefs admitted the company takes orders from the government on what it reports. He said journalists received instructions to write news that would be “to Ms. Merkel’s liking”.

Former head of ZDF Bonn Dr. Wolfgang Herles make the remarks during a radio event (from minute 27) in Berlin where journalists discussed the media landscape. Moving on to the freedom of the press, the panel chair asked Dr. Herles whether things in Germany had got “seriously out of whack”. With an honesty perhaps unusual in Germany, Dr. Herles replied that ordinary Germans were totally losing faith in the media, something he called a “scandal”. …

He said:

“…the topics about which are reported are laid down by the government.

“There are many topics that would be more important than what the government wants. But they, of course, want to deflect attention away from what doesn’t happen. Yet what doesn’t happen is often more important than what does happen – more important than gesture politics”.

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