“I can no longer remain silent. I can no longer silently watch what has been going on for a year and a half now within my organization, a public service broadcaster. Things like “balance”, “social cohesion” and “diversity” in reporting are principles embedded in the statutes and media state contracts. Today, the exact opposite is happening. There is no true discourse and exchange in which all parts of society can come together and find common ground.
From the beginning, I felt that public service broadcasting should fill precisely this space: promote dialogue between advocates of measures and critics, between people who are afraid of the virus and people who are afraid of losing their basic rights, between vaccination supporters and vaccination sceptics. For the past year and a half, however, the space for discussion has narrowed considerably.
Scientists and experts who were respected and esteemed before Covid, who were given space in public discourse, are suddenly labelled cranks, tinfoil hat wearers or Covidiots. As an oft-cited example, consider Wolfgang Wodarg, a medical specialist in several fields, an epidemiologist and a long-time health politician. Until the Covid crisis, he was also on the board of Transparency International. In 2010, as Chair of the Council of Europe Health Committee, he exposed the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in the swine flu pandemic. At that time, he was granted the opportunity to express his opinion on public service broadcasting, but in times of Covid this is no longer possible. His voice has been replaced by that of so-called fact-checkers, who seek to discredit him.”