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Best of GMF 2014

Partnership without alternative

German journalist and U.S. expert Peter Kloeppel will join the panel for a Transatlantic Talk on July 1, 2014

Peter Kloeppel, born in 1958, is a prominent German journalist and the Editor-in-Chief of RTL Television, a major commercial TV station in Germany. On the second day of the DW Global Media Forum being held from June 30 – July 2, 2014, he’ll take part in an expert-panel Transatlantic Talk on U.S.-European relations. In 1990, Kloeppel was dispatched to New York as RTL’s first U.S. correspondent. From October 1990 to March 1991, he filed live background coverage of the Gulf War nearly daily. He’s deeply familiar with U.S. policy and transatlantic sensitivities in general. He was named Editor-in-Chief at Cologne-based RTL in 2004.

Despite the current crisis in German-American relations and a series of negative developments since news of the NSA’s surveillance activities broke, Kloeppel still sees reason for optimism. However, he also thinks the relationship requires some lasting repair work. “Hardly anything has put as much of a strain on U.S.-German relations over the past 60 years as the recent NSA affair,” he says. “Of course trust has been damaged, but at the same time it’s also clear that this partnership has no alternative. The shared history between our two countries, the deep roots their citizens share, and the distance we’ve travelled together historically, remain a firm foundation. But the form of cooperation will change, based on the two nations' divergent interests and guided by their shared responsibilities.”

In the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s release of secret documents, the Transatlantic Talk will, of course, address the question of how to balance individuals' civil right to privacy against the need for limiting that right for the sake of national security. Kloeppel says that, “today's intelligence collection capabilities have come to exceed anything we could possibly have imagined, but the thirst for even more information gathering has also risen exponentially. Genuine privacy is becoming increasingly scarce because we, too, are making our lives ever more public. Nonetheless, there should be legal parameters to ensure that people’s personal rights and private data stay protected. Orwell's visions should remain what they have always been: dystopian.”