Following the departure of BILD editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt, CEO of Axel Springer Media Group, Matthias Dobfner, has spoken out in favor of a faster culture change within the tabloid.
“This is not a cultural problem for the entire Springer publishing house,” he said in a video message on Wednesday. “There is a problem with ‘Bild’.” Döpfner asked employees to report any abuse of power.
“We have to work more fundamentally here to modernize our culture and change it in the sense of respect,” added Döpfner. This does not apply to the vast majority of employees. Most of the group companies have an exemplary culture. Springer’s boss asked employees to report abuse of authority and disrespectful professional interaction, to speak frankly and to “not be afraid.”
In the seven-minute video, Döpfner first spoke about the internal investigations against Reichelt and the reasons why the “Bild” editor-in-chief was relieved on Monday of his duties. Recently published journalistic research, including by the investigative team of the Ippen media group, also addressed allegations against Reichelt.
Dobfner also touched on aspects of a New York Times article dealing with media group Axel Springer and Reichelt and company culture. On Sunday, the US newspaper quoted an older private communication by Döpfner, in which he described Reichelt as the last and only journalist in Germany who was still brave against the “new, authoritarian German democratic state”.
Among other things, Döpfner said in the video message: “Private SMS is not a tweet, it is not a post, it is not a public discourse. And if you quote something out of context in a private conversation, you are ignoring the argument and, ironically, an exaggeration.” It is important to him that this is private and not treated as a quote. “This is a border crossing,” Springer Chief said.
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