‘Climate of fear’: NDR employees raise serious allegations


A concrete example of the allegations against the Norddeutscher Rundfunk is the so-called “Causa Grote”: An NDR journalist with the changed name Stefan Z. wanted to be present shortly after the resignation of former Schleswig-Holstein Interior Minister Hans -Joachim Grote (CDU). Among other things, the politician who took care of the blurred background in 2020 received a statement from the politician. According to ‘Business Insider’, the investigative report now says policy chief Julia Stein removed some quotes of Grotes from the article when it was accepted, so the direct allegations against Prime Minister Daniel Günther disappeared. The journalist then wanted to speak to Grote, but his superiors, Julia Stein and Norbert Lorentzen, prohibited the interview. Either way, it wouldn’t bring new ideas, it was said as a reason. In its final report, the committee suggested that it was incomprehensible that the interview had been refused. Moreover, the final report would have come to the conclusion that the deleted parts of the declaration were very relevant. (Source: IMAGO / Chris Emil Janßen) A spokeswoman for the broadcaster said: “From the perspective of the NDR, this is the different journalistic assessment of a daily editorial decision. an editorial matter of today and not as a serious accusation from which arises a need for action. There was no political motivation, the editorial board also wrote in its December 2021 final report. But the letter goes on to say that the suspicion of political motivation could very well arise “if the matter is not not thoroughly clarified reaching the public”.

“Toxic” atmosphere

In addition to Z’s claims, there are eight other descriptions that are said to be similar. The investigation report speaks of a “climate of fear”. There is a lot of pressure to identify the names of employees who have approached the editorial board. The atmosphere within the “Politics and Research” department in particular is perceived as “poisoned”. The panel considers the allegations to be “credible” overall. The NDR rejects the allegations regarding the working atmosphere. After personal discussions with employees, this impression has not been confirmed. People continue to exchange ideas. Patricia Schlesinger: Recently there have been various allegations regarding the ex-director of RBB, who has now been summarily dismissed. (Source: IMAGO / Michael Handelmann) With the NDR revelations, the next inconsistencies at an ARD broadcaster are now revealed. The case of Patricia Schlesinger has been in the headlines for weeks before – and with it the question of the proper functioning of RBB’s control mechanisms. The case involves nepotism and the waste of dues money, while the attorney general’s office investigates suspicions of infidelity and taking benefits. Read more about the allegations against the former RBB manager here.

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