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'Discussing freedom of the press is out of the question'

May 28, 2019

Laschet: "In Europe freedom of the press has come under pressure. The future European Commission must take a clear stance: "Europe has clear principles. Anyone who violates these principles will experience sanctions."

Keynote Armin Laschet (Minister President of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW))
Image: DW/P. Böll

"It is not acceptable for someone to get billions from Brussels and at the same time abolish the free press. That won't work," North-Rhine Westfalia’s State Premier Armin Laschet said at Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum 2019 in Bonn.

"We can discuss a lot of things, but freedom of the press is out of the question," Laschet told the international guests of the media conference. Europe has "every reason to be self-critical, because what we expect from others is no longer the standard everywhere in Europe." This shows "how insidiously freedom of the press can be jeopardized if limits are not defined in good time."

With regard to copyright law, the politician of Germany’s governing CDU party said that Germany had to "make sure that copyright law does not become anything that makes censorship possible." Freedoms must be preserved, and at the same time "whatever someone creates can’t be for free for those who make billions with it." This balancing act must be managed. 

In 2019, the state of North-Rhine Westfalia was for the first time a partner of the Global Media Forum and providing financial support for the conference. Laschet said that Deutsche Welle now had "the chance to turn the Global Media Forum into something that is like the Munich Security Conference for foreign and security policy." DW's international media conference should continue to provide "backing for a free press in the world" in the coming years.