The German journalist offers an interesting perspective on journalism and politics in Spain
You have a long journalistic career Do you remember what was the first professional contact you had with Spain?
In 1988, as an expert on Eastern Europe, I attended a conference in Barcelona on Transición and Perestroika. So I studied the system of democratization in Spain.
What made you end up as a correspondent in Madrid?
My bosses needed an expert on economic reform. The correspondents of our newspaper used to be football experts, but they didn’t understand the crisis. That’s why there was this change.
Do you feel comfortable working in Spain? What differences have you observed between the way you do journalism and the way you practice here?
It is pleasant because of the external circumstances: southern climate, cultural offer. Less positive is the fact that the press officers of institutions are usually not cooperative or that often no competent interview partner can be found.
Do you think that in Spain there is freedom of information?
Yes, absolutely! But politics and administration are very intransparent.
What Spanish issues are most interesting in Germany?
Catalonia, ETA, football, the impact of Franco’s dictatorship, tourism and gastronomy
Do you think that these matters are well understood abroad?
What is your idea of Spain in the Germany?
The Germans have a romantic image of Spain. The crisis has done little to change that. The big corruption scandals cast a shadow over the political elite.
What aspects do you think correspond to reality and which do not? –
My personal image of Spain is not romantic. I see a great lack of transparency in politics, there is still an exuberant nepotism. Spain is a society of confrontation and not of consensus.
Do you have any personal opinion about the current situation in Spain?
In current politics and culture there are no personalities with authority who can overcome the rifts in society. There is a lack of courage to undertake deep reforms, especially in education and health care. The future prospects for the younger generation are therefore not good.
What gaps do you think Spanish journalism has?
Spanish journalism is very biased. Most commentaries see themselves as political agitators and not as analysts. But as a reader I know that and can classify it.
Do you see yourself working for a Spanish media in the future?
No, I have no reason to do it. Also, as an observer, I do not want to be involved in the internal confrontation in Spain