My Journalism Career in Germany is Over – Says WDR Reporter Claudia Zimmermann after Slip of the Tongue


Claudia Zimmermann

About one and a half years ago Claudia Zimmermann mentioned in a radio show broadcasted in the Netherlands that employees of German public broadcasters such as her employer TV channel WDR are „asked to report pro-government“.

WDR denied her claim and Frau Zimmermann backed off. It did not help her much. She is currently negotiating the terms of her leaving and does not see a future either with broadcasters or publishers any more.

Now that a study is out that selectivly concedes her claim on the matter of reporting about the immigration crisis, she opens up again.

Yes, she had backed off saying there were no direct orders by the government, she admits. However, she adds, “large broadcasters such as ARD (the mother company of WDR) and ZDF are criticised as state television, and in my view that is correct. There is too little criticism of the government. The reason is not that the journalists are bad. The system itself works its way top-down. Senior editors and studio managers take care that critical stories don’t even get aired”

The hiring policies of public broadcasters and the dependency of the regular yet ‘free’ employees already hempered a critical assessment of the government and the migration crisis, she opines.

„If somebody reports critically on problems that have to do with the refugees, he will swifly be cornered as a right-winger [translation note: this means already nothing less than a neo-Nazi]. Still today the problems with the refugees are put into far too positive light“.

Since her radio appearance she was not given any work at WDR. In the 25 years before eight out of ten of her work proposals were greenlighted, she says. That all has changed. She fell into a depression, though she uses the fancy-shmancy word burn-out.

After her slip of the tongue she was ordered to hand in her work proposals to the studio management and not to the editors any more. The excuses for not running her stories ranged from ‘too complicated’, ‘beyond the region WDR is assigned with’ to ‘we have run something similar already’.

WDR denies the claims. She was ‘evidently’ given work. Claudia Zimmermann was allowed to contribute two 30 seconds videos during the course of one and a half years despite submitting suggestions on a weekly basis. Her name was not mentioned to the viewers in both.

Frau Zimmermann who speaks Dutch fluently continues to work in the Netherlands which are still a democracy. She will also publish a book about online brokers titled ‘Terroristen der Finanzmärkte’ which translates to ‘Terrorists of the Financial Markets’. It will be out on 31st of July.

Edit Meanwhile she gave a German-language interview to Russian state media outlet sputniknews.

… and another one with Russia Today

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