The newspaper publishers have confirmed Mathias Döpfner as president, as the association announced on Wednesday. In a presidium meeting, the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) dealt with the criticism of a private WhatsApp message from Association President Döpfner, who is also CEO of Axel Springer.
After an in-depth discussion, which should have lasted around three hours, the presidium members found Döpfner’s explanations and arguments to be correct by a large majority and accepted his apology, it said. It is undisputed that the discussion about alleged attitudes and positions of the President would not have done the association any good, according to the committee. The wording in the private text message is of course unacceptable and the Presidium unanimously committed itself to independent journalism, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. After the constructive discussion, however, this does not constitute a reason to question the very successful work of the Presidium over the past few years.
The head of the Axel Springer Group had in a short message from which the New York Times had quoted the former image-Editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt called the last and only journalist in Germany who was still brave in revolting against the “new GDR authoritarian state”. Almost everyone else has become “propaganda assistants”. Springer had classified this as irony, Döpfner later apologized for the SMS. However, criticism came from other publishers.