According to internal allegations at the NDR, there are personnel consequences for two editorial managers. State radio station director Volker Thormählen said he had lost trust with editor-in-chief Norbert Lorentzen and political director Julia Stein “that I will no longer work with them.” On Wednesday he explained that with the support of management he would take care of both new tasks outside of the Landesfunkhaus Schleswig-Holstein.
Lorentzen and Stein had asked some time ago to be released from their duties until further notice amid the unsolved allegations. According to NDR information, director Joachim Knuth had also asked Thormählen to resume his work as director after the end of the unpaid leave and to outline how he wanted to get the problems in some areas of the state broadcasting center under control.
In a 43-page internal report, NDR employees reported about a “climate of fear” and made serious allegations against the two executives. It says: “The fear that a conflict will affect one’s professional existence is palpable in the house.”
Employees were particularly “deterred by Lorentzen’s sharp, confrontational handling”. Visits to the executive office were “sometimes a feat of strength, even for seasoned editors (…).” The “image” had reported about it.
An internal test report by two NDR journalists on the allegations was published on Tuesday in the Schleswig-Holstein state radio station. Although there is no evidence for the allegation of a “political filter” in reporting, a bad working atmosphere was attested at the same time.
Media reports a few weeks ago raised the question of whether there could have been a kind of filter with a political bias by the superiors in the political reporting. For example, it was about an interview that an NDR journalist wanted to conduct, but his superiors refused.
Funkhaus director Thormählen said in the NDR message: “Today I know – there was a culture in parts that is not acceptable, that is incompatible with my principles and against which I should have taken action earlier.” The broadcaster announced a cultural one Fresh start in Kiel, on Thursday there should be internal first rounds of talks.
The external review of the allegations in Kiel initiated by the State Broadcasting Council control body is ongoing. Results are not yet available. The chairwoman of the Schleswig-Holstein State Broadcasting Council, Laura Pooth, announced on Tuesday that it was an important step for the first results to be available. “However, the committee notes with concern that the working atmosphere in parts of the broadcasting center is severely disturbed.”
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