The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district office, which is dominated by the Greens, actively kept the daily newspaper “B.Z.” away from press conferences. Critical reporting – it seems – was apparently not wanted.

The authority did not invite the paper to a press conference in January on plans for a car-free Oranienstrasse. Subsequent justification: The district office had only invited “writing traffic editors”.

On Wednesday last week, City Councilor Annika Gerold (Greens) presented the plans for traffic calming in the entire district: through traffic is to be reduced and the speed of cars slowed down. The district wants to be a pioneer in the mobility revolution, the plans affect all of Berlin.

Several media received the “invitation to the press conference on nationwide traffic calming” – but not the “B.Z.”

When asked, the press office of the district office told the newspaper the reason: “The decision as to who is invited to a press conference is the responsibility of the press office and the city councilor and requires no explanation.” A day later, a new reason followed: lack of space at the press conference.

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State bodies are legally obliged to be neutral, they may not later forward official announcements to individual media. In addition, “special measures of any kind that impair press freedom” are prohibited.