After the incidents involving district chairman Löbel, the CDU’s nerves are apparently blank. This was clearly noticeable in Mannheim on Friday evening: A city council obstructed SWR reporting.
The CDU in Mannheim is concerned with coming to terms with the mask scandal surrounding former district chairman Nikolas Löbel – but not unanimously in the same direction. While some believe that the district board wanted to cover up something and therefore only allowed access to an opinion that was blackened in places, others wanted to exonerate the board – and did so on Friday evening.
The SWR wanted to report on the discussion – live from the meeting room. Reporter Natalie Akbari was standing far from the lectern and reported on the news program “SWR Aktuell Baden-Württemberg”. That apparently displeased the city councilor Thomas Hornung. During the news, he began to talk to the reporter and did not respond to her suggestion that she was live on the air. In the end, Akbari had no choice but to end the show early.
Hornung was annoyed about the timing of the switch
Hornung, who describes himself as a “trained and skilled journalist”, later defended his intervention against the German Press Agency by stating that there was live and loud reports at the very moment when the acting district chairwoman Katharina Funck made her report on the allegations received in the Löbel affair. Therefore, in his opinion, the news should not have been held at the same time and in the same room. He doesn’t regret that he intervened. The former office manager of the former member of the Bundestag Löbel only apologized for having acted emotionally and for having overshot himself.
Natalie Akbari responded to Hornung’s accusation by pointing out that it had been agreed with the newly elected district chairman Christian Hötting where she could stand so as not to disrupt the course of the event. And the provisional district chairwoman Funck, who stood at the lectern during the switch, assured Akbari that she had not even noticed that there was even a live broadcast. As a result, she certainly did not feel disturbed. Funck literally: “There is no place for such behavior in the CDU and it is also not eligible for a majority. We very much regret the incident.”
Mannheim district chairman distanced himself
Hornung seems to be quite alone with his demeanor. Both the CDU Baden-Württemberg and the Mannheim district association condemned the interruption of the live report. The newly elected district chairman Christian Hötting emphasized in a written statement that the CDU was fundamentally distancing itself from interfering with the work of the press.
Since no one from the closer district association had actually noticed the incident, no further explanations could be given.
BW-CDU: attach importance to “proper handling”
The state CDU also distanced itself from the incident in a statement by Acting Secretary General Isabell Huber:
The editor-in-chief of SWR television, Fritz Frey, made a similar statement. “The behavior of a CDU city council in Mannheim reveals an understanding of press work that is incompatible with the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of reporting.” Even beyond the SWR, some apparently see the incident as an attack on freedom of the press. For example, the general secretary of the Baden-Württemberg SPD, Sascha Binder, said something like this has so far only been known from AfD events.