Had no influence on Blick reporting: emails from Berset spokesman Peter Lauener (left) to Ringier CEO Marc Walder.
Christian DorerEditor-in-Chief Blick Group
“This is how Alain Berset’s interior department fed the gaze.” – “The Corona dedicated line from Berset’s antechamber to the Ringier boss.” – “How Berset’s department let the gaze do propaganda for itself.” These were the headlines of the past few days.
The reports in “Switzerland at the weekend” and other media reports gave the impression that the Blick political editorial team had received stories directly from the interior department during the pandemic: the basis for this was information that Peter Lauener, then head of EDI communications, sent to the Ringier CEO Marc Walder is said to have passed on. This impression is wrong.
The Blick editorial team therefore firmly rejects this representation and formally rejects the allegations. It is true that the Blick editorial team researches and works independently of the publisher and group. She has not received any instructions from anyone, including the CEO. We also resolutely deny the accusation that we allowed ourselves to be influenced by the interior department.
The journalists in our political editorial team have written numerous articles and comments on the federal and cantonal corona measures. They are based on their own independent research, which is only committed to journalistic criteria. Sometimes our political team had a Primeur, which made us happy, sometimes a competitor, which annoyed us.
“Again: The two stories came about without the influence of the CEO and based on our own research.”Christian Dorer
In particular, CEO Marc Walder was in no way involved in the two researches and texts that were mentioned in “Switzerland at the weekend”. The primeur about the vaccine procurement from November 11, 2020 comes from sources from the head of politics Sermîn Faki. The Primeur about the easing of the measures from March 11, 2021 have the deputy. Political boss Pascal Tischhauser and Bundeshaus editor Ruedi Studer researched. The Blick Group upholds the protection of sources, which is why further information on the formation of the two Primeurs is prohibited.
Again: The two stories came about without the influence of the CEO and based on their own research.
Various media are currently even accusing that there was a deal between Federal Councilor Berset and the Blick Group: Blick was provided with confidential information about the Ringier CEO, in return Blick reported benevolently.
The accusation is not only wrong, but downright defamatory for the editors. And it can be easily refuted with a look into the archive: Blick was not loyal to the government, but true to the facts to the best of my knowledge and belief. We have questioned and criticized decisions by the Federal Council and cantonal governments countless times, including Federal Councilor Alain Berset personally. For example, the title of one of our comments was: “From high-flyer to burden”. Or when Berset promised a 50-franc vaccination voucher, we called it “a desperate capitulation”.
Quite apart from that, such a deal would never have worked. Our journalists would not have carried out an “order from above”, and rightly so: that would have violated their professional ethics. Blick does not work in a hierarchical line in which the CEO dictates something. Blick works exclusively according to journalistic criteria, committed solely to the readers, i.e. to you, dear Sir or Madam.
Just as our editorial manifesto regulates in paragraph 8: «The editorial team works independently of any outside influence. We publish what we consider to be current, relevant and ethically correct, and make decisions free of political, ideological or material directives.»
This applies in particular to our reporting on the historically difficult phase of the pandemic.