Many people are criticizing a ZDF report from Russian-occupied Mariupol. The broadcaster sent out a statement – but now Kiev is also getting involved.
One causes a lot of trouble for ZDF. First of all, Armin Coerper, head of the ZDF Moscow studio, says that the team had the visit to Mariupol approved “by the Russian side”. He also describes the enormous destruction, but also says twice – once in the article and once in the subsequent interview – that Russia is investing huge amounts of money in rebuilding the city destroyed by Russia, for example in building schools and apartments.
This sparks criticism from many viewers on Seems like Russian state propaganda & inability to understand context got into this man.”
Further tweets speak of “successful Russian propaganda” on ZDF.
The ZDF switch is also described as simply “bad work”.
Ukraine also responded on Friday. Oleh Nikolenko, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Kiev, wrote on X: “Distortion of reality is not journalism.” In addition, the visit of the Moscow office manager to occupied Mariupol without Ukraine’s consent violated Ukrainian law. “We call on ZDF to make an official statement.”
The ZDF’s previous explanation is apparently not enough for Nikolenko. The broadcaster responded to initial criticism of the report and interview with a statement: “ZDF takes the criticism of the reporting from Mariupol seriously. The Moscow studio manager Armin Coerper traveled to Mariupol to get an independent picture of the situation there as a journalist areas occupied in violation of international law. He reports on the city that was completely destroyed by the Russian war of aggression and its forced Russification. Armin Coerper also makes it clear that opponents of the Russian occupation have to fear reprisals if they speak to a Western journalist.”
Coerper used the misleading phrase “The city works.” And further: “In its reporting from Ukraine, ZDF never left any doubt that Mariupol is territory illegally occupied by Russia and who is the aggressor and victim in this war.”
Criticism of ZDF contribution
And Coerper himself had probably already expected criticism. At the end of the live broadcast from Mariupol, he says: “The people we talk to here are usually pro-Russian because they are the ones who express themselves in front of the camera.” The others expressed criticism at best behind closed doors. “I still think it’s important to report from here, because journalism can’t stop where things get difficult,” says Coerper. “And we should also listen to people who have different opinions about this war.”
Sources: ZDF statement by email.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.