Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner
Springer boss Döpfner was criticized for a WhatsApp message in which he spoke of a “GDR government state” and journalists as “propaganda assistants”. Nevertheless, he remains President of the Newspaper Publishers.
M.Athias Döpfner, the chairman of the board of the Springer Verlag, remains president of the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers BDZV. That is the result of a debate by the Association Presidium this Wednesday.
In the roughly three-hour session, there was a clear controversy about Döpfner’s statements in a private WhatsApp message. In this he had defended the meanwhile dismissed Bild editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt by pointing out that he was “the last and only journalist in Germany who still bravely rebelled against the new GDR government. Almost everyone else has become propaganda assistants ”.
Döpfner apologized for this statement, including in an interview with the FAZ, and affirmed that he of course does not think so. Nevertheless, quite a few publishers were of the opinion that the statements were a reason for Döpfner’s resignation.
The official announcement of the BDZV states that at the beginning of the meeting, Döpfner set out “once more the occurrence and context of his private statement” and confirmed “his substantive distancing and express apology”. After a detailed discussion, the members of the Presidium found Döpfner’s statement “with a large majority to be correct and accepted his apology”. It is undisputed that the discussion about alleged attitudes and positions of the President would not have done the association any good, said the BDZV Presidium. The formulations in the private text message are “of course unacceptable”. They admit “unanimously to independent journalism, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. According to the “constructive discussion”, this “does not represent a reason to question the very successful work of the Presidium in recent years”.
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