From the Feuilletons


Die Tageszeitung 19.07.2007

Michael Backmund, member of the board of the Union of German Journalists (dju), lays into the "serious" press agencies and their false reports about Heiligendamm. For example, take dpa: "On Saturday (June 2, see various media reports here), they reported 433 injured police, including 32 who were badly wounded. In fact, about 158 were treated, two of them as in-patients, and only one spent the night at the clinic. So: no terrible injuries. Most of them were actually hurt by their own CS- gas, the use of which should be banned outright in domestic situations. Many media outlets accepted these false numbers without checking them and without giving the source." And it is small comfort to Backmund that the dpa apologized later: "These numbers still float around today on the on-line sites of respected media. It's one thing to say you're sorry, but the global disinformation can't be withdrawn."

Die Welt

Die Welt prints an excerpt from Wolfgang Sofsky's polemic "Defence of the Private" in which the sociologist warns about surrendering personal freedom by surrendering privacy. "Despite the odd spat of ill-humour, the glass citizen treasures the conveniences of the digital age. Without so much as a thought he relinquishes being unobserved, anonymous, inaccessible. The loss of freedom is a foreign concept. He doesn't even sense that there's something to defend. His private sphere means too little for him to want to defend it at the cost of other advantages. Privacy is not a political issue which could win votes. The protection of secrets is not the sort of mission that would find favour in a society where the public has so encroached on the private. The desire to be left in peace is rarely expressed. It goes so deeply against the grain of a zeitgeist which has made a political issue of every last thing, and values publicity over privacy."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 19.07.2007

Turkey goes to the polls on Sunday. Anna Vakali describes the crude conspiracy theory mongering of the Kemalists to try to undermine the pro-Islamic AKP party. A new best-seller "Children of Moses" by Ergün Poyraz is a typical example: "It was published in April and is already selling in its 16th edition. It was written by the staunch Kemalist Ergün Poyra who, over the course of 333 pages, uncovered that the prime minister and AKP Chairman Tayyib Erdogan is not the man he says he is. He is not a pious Muslim after all, but – horror of horrors – a Jewish agent, just like his wife, beneath her traditional dress. And both are selling Turkey for their American client. The shocking thing is not that this sort of thing is being written. Without citing a single source, it goes without saying. The shocking thing is that a book like this can become a best seller."

Die Zeit

In one year, the Olympic Games take place in Beijing. The Feuilleton has spent a fortnight in the middle of the world, checking out the situation on the ground. Wang Xiaoshan, editor at the sport magazine Tiyu Huabao, thinks the games will, most importantly, be a shot of testosterone in the arm for China: "Olympia symbolizes the ascent of our country. From the outside, it looks like all the flags are flying, but that's just the surface. Just think about the construction workers building the new Olympic stadium. True, they don't have to worry about their salaries or fear being beaten to death for their money, like other migrant workers in China, but not one of them will have the chance to see the games themselves in the stadium they will have built. No sooner is the stadium finished, than the construction workers will have to leave Beijing. Politicians already have suggested that one million itinerant workers be hounded out of Beijing during the Olympic games, because these people in rags will give a bad impression to the foreign guests."

But Wang Hui and designer Feng Ling tell Die Zeit's Georg Blume and Christof Siemes that the Olympic games are a good thing: "Feng: China is completely different from Germany in 1936! In Beijing you don't get the impression that this is a dictatorship. Wang: Of course, there are always moments that remind us that we live in an authoritarian regime. But the words 'dictatorship' or 'totalitarianism' do not describe the complex process taking place here now."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Prince's "Planet Earth" might not be his best album but it is a "triumphant howl that will go down in pop history," writes Andrian Kreye. Because Prince is giving out millions of his CDs for free and spreading the message that: "CDs no longer play a role in the pop business ... a furious victory to end a twelve-year battle with the record industry. Prince can afford this triumphant strutting. Financially speaking, at any rate: He has not relied on income from CD sales for a long time now... Between August 1 and September 21 he will be giving 21 concerts, all sold out already, in the Millenium Dome, which houses some 20,000 people. Even at the democratically low price of 31 pounds 21 pence (a reference to his last album '3121') he will still be raking in a princely 20 million euro in just 8 weeks." - let's talk european