German journalists are not allowed to criticize Israel

von G.Lange » Dienstag, 11. Mai 2004

Betreff: German journalists are not allowed to criticize Israel
Datum: Mon, 10 May 2004 01:05:13 +0200
Von: Shraga Elam < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >

Few years ago a German friend told me about a pro Israel pledge
that journalists at the tabloid "Bild Zeitung" have to sign.
According to this friend the journalists have to sign a declaration
in which they promise not to criticize Israel. I asked for a
written proof, but this has never been supplied.

The /Guardian/ delivers now a confirmation for this info and
expresses the fear that something similar will happen soon to
the Telegraph staff.

Still the Guardian made a false referrence to Axel Springer's
publishing principles as this referrence is based on a wrong
translation. Though the principles expresses clearly a support
for the Zionist project, there is no mention of a censorship of
critique. So this can not be the real issue.

Of course it is rather peculiar that something like this should
be mentioned in the publishing principles, but even without such
a binding written declaration, there is hardly any mainstream
journalist in the Western media who'll dare to question publicly
the existence rights of the state of Israel. Most of the
journalists are more concerned with their own existence than
posing legitimate questions.

The point with the German publishing giant Springer is that one
can hardly find there any critical word against the criminal
Israeli policy. Therefore the existence of an adequate statement
in the staff contract sounds to be very plausible but still its
exact formulation is of a great interest.

Shraga Elam


Will Telegraph staff have to sign Israel pledge?

Posted: 05/08
From: Guardian

By Chris Tryhorn

Conrad Black accused of turning the Telegraph into an American and
Israel propagnada sheet:

Telegraph journalists could have to adhere to a string of publishing
principles - including registering support for the state of Israel -
if German publishing giant Axel Springer takes over the newspaper.

Springer - whose executives visited London yesterday to quiz
Telegraph managers about the paper and its stablemates, the
Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator - *includes the Israel
pledge on its website under "publishing principles".
The group says it is determined "to promote reconciliation of Jews
and Germans and *support the vital rights of the State of Israel".


*[wrongly translated - it should read "to promote reconciliation
of Jews and German, which includes also the support of existence
rights of the Israeli people" *
"...das Herbeifuehren einer Aussoehnung zwischen Juden und
Deutschen, hierzu gehoert auch die Unterstuetzung der Lebensrechte
des israelischen Volkes...." - SE]

A biography of the company's eponymous founder notes that he made
his first visit to Israel in July 1966, a year before Israel seized
the Jordan-controlled West Bank territory.

*Journalists on one of Springer's titles today confirmed there
was a statement in staff contracts referring to Israel.
Springer is making its bid for the Telegraph's parent company,
Hollinger International, in conjunction with the Israeli billionaire
Haim Saban, who is believed to have his eye on another of the
company's assets, the Jerusalem Post.

The Telegraph became notably pro-Israel under the chairmanship of
outgoing proprietor Conrad Black, whose Jewish wife, Barbara Amiel,
has written trenchantly in support of the Israeli cause.

But its present editorial stance on Europe may be affected if
Springer is successful in taking over the group for a reputed

The Berlin-based company's website says the firm vows "to uphold
liberty and law in Germany, a country belonging to the Western
family of nations, and to further the unification of Europe".

In common with much of the rightwing press, the Telegraph has been
persistently Eurosceptic, with the Sunday Telegraph including a
weekly column by Christopher Booker devoted to vilifying EU policy.

Such explicit political goals are unheard of among newspaper
proprietors in the UK, although many have strong political
editorial agendas.

The company's website also states it is committed to the
"transatlantic alliance", adding a pro-American clause to
its list of principles the day after the terrorist attacks
on the US on September 11 2001.

The following year the company even endowed a "George H W Bush
Fellowship", enabling US political experts to engage in research
at the American Academy in Berlin.

Under Lord Black - who filled his board with American neo-
conservative hawks such as former secretary of state Henry
Kissinger and Richard Perle, the former chairman of the
defence policy board - the Telegraph has been pro-American
in outlook.

When Lord Black stepped down as Hollinger's chief executive
in November, the former Sunday Telegraph editor Sir Peregrine
Worsthorne complained he had cut the Telegraph adrift from
traditional English conservatism.

"He's turned the Telegraph into an American-propaganda and
Israel-propaganda sheet, which I don't agree with," Sir
Peregrine said.

"I think his doctrinaire, almost blind support for America in
the Iraq war has given the Telegraph a narrowness of vision
that makes it a less impressive newspaper than it should be."

Whatever its politics, the ambitions of the Springer group -
which owns Die Welt and the mass-market tabloid Bild - are not
in doubt.

"In the sixth decade of its existence, Axel Springer Verlag
is transforming itself from a German print publisher to an
international media company," the company's website says.

The group already publishes more than a hundred newspapers
and magazines and various special issues outside Germany.

It has interests in France, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal
and has expanded eastwards - to Hungary, Poland, the Czech
Republic and even Bulgaria.

Springer even has a subsidiary in Russia, while in Romania it
has a stake in the country's second largest magazine publisher.

Behind this huge empire is the figure of Friede Springer, the
61-year-old widow of the founder, who controls 55.4% of the
company's voting rights.

She met Axel Springer while serving as an au pair for the
Springer household and went on to join the company's board
in 1984, a year before her husband's death.

Her say will be crucial in deciding the strategy adopted by
the chief executive, Mathias Dopfner, as he attempts his most
spectacular move yet, one that would see Springer make its
first leap outside continental Europe.

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