Film without Author? The "public" TV station WDR puts a journalist under financial pressure. Do they want to silence him?
For 30 years, filmmaker and journalist Tim van BEVEREN worked, amongst for others, also for the WDR, and produced from 2009 to 2011 several films about fume events and their consequences for the "public broadcaster", thus becoming the first in Germany to bring this problem into public focus.
A large project with the title "Nervengift im Flugzeug" (Nerve Poison in Airplanes), which was broadcast by WDR in „Format“ – „Die Story" (The Story), led to content-related disputes. Tim van BEVEREN's co-author, then Dr. Roman STUMPF, today: Roman RUSCH, who, while being a full-time employed WDR editor , studied at the private Quadriga University in Berlin, whose sponsors include companies such as Airbus and Lufthansa (which obviously posed no problem for WDR), continued working on the film by himself and Tim van BEVEREN was excluded. Lufthansa for example, did not want to take part as an interview partner in a film made by van BEVEREN . (view entry from 7th July 2014 at www.ansTageslicht.de/cabinairchronology).
DokZentrum ansTageslicht is in the process of reconstructing the origins and oddities of this strange history which ultimately led to a programme complaint by a Scottish lawyer, which mentions amongst other things, "deception of the audience“ . However, this was smoothed out by the WDR Broadcasting Council.
As a result, WDR tried to refute reproaches and critical inquiries in "Fact Check", by disseminating partly untrue factual allegations about Van BEVEREN. For a freelance journalist this can leed quickly to a journalistic 'death sentence'.
Tim van BEVEREN tried to defend himself against these claims in court. Unsuccessfully. The Landgericht Mainz was of the opinion that he had to accept (this is inaccurate) "factual allegations" which "cannot have a significant effect on the personality of the person concerned".
Now the WDR wants to recover its lawyer's fees. At court. Tim van BEVEREN should the 'oath of disclosure'.
It was in this context that we asked WDR these questions today:
1. Is it normal for the WDR that you want to financially gag journalists with whom you have a content-related dispute?
2. If this is not the normal case, why are you doing it in this case?
3. Have you ever thought about another solution?
4. And what exactly are the reasons why you are putting such financial pressure on a former employee?
We will stay on the ball. In every respect.
The film in question was never broadcast again, although the topic has come more and more in to the public focus.
In order to make sure that WDR will not sue us as well - for example for any copyright infringement of its logo - we made this one ourselves. It is not the original logo).