Mark Walder (56), head of the internationally active Swiss media group Ringier (6,800 employees, including “Blick”), is under heavy criticism.
The occasion is a video clip from February last year in which Walder spoke to managers about the media’s responsibility in the coronavirus pandemic and admitted that he swore his editorial offices “in all the countries where we operate” on the principle: “We want to support the government with our media coverage so we can all Who weathered the crisis well.” On the other hand, Germany’s BILD newspaper is “incredibly tough” on the federal government, according to Walder. This phrase should remain “in this circle”.
But she did not stay. First, the Swiss website “Nebelspalter” published a report on Walder’s testimony. There, and in other Swiss media, Walder’s comments are now under heavy criticism. It is said that the publisher wanted to prevent critical reporting and violated the principle of separation between the publisher and the editorial staff.
In an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), Walder now admitted: The statement was “misleadingly worded”. “This was a mistake.” He only wanted to emphasize: “In a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives,” the media also had a “tyrannical responsibility.”
Ringier’s CEO has withdrawn his allegations against German media such as BILD, which had fueled demonstrations with reports critical of the government, in “New Zealand”. “I would like to apologize for this unfortunate statement to Bild,” Walder said. “Of course the media should report.”
Transparency Notice: Media company Axel Springer SE, in which BILD appears, works with Ringier Group in Eastern Europe, among others.