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Regular Meeting September 2023

The first big Regular Meeting is always in September in our club. This year, in addition to the Membership Meeting, with a lecture by the former FAZ Rome correspondent Tobias Piller.

The members and guests started in the best mood and weather with a champagne reception in the entrance hall and on the terrace of Villa Bonn, with warm reunion greetings and much merriment.

The Membership Meeting was chaired by Parliamentarian Sigrid Christ and the members present unanimously discharged the Treasurer and the General Board of the club year 2022/2023. The meeting itself was sovereignly moderated by our President Laura Melara-Dürbeck.

 Tobias Piller, based on his wealth of experience from 24 years, as a correspondent in Rome for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, reported on the most diverse problems that (can) threaten quality journalism. The possibilities are manifold: dictators or dictatorially oriented state leaders do not want to hear any opposition or oppositional opinions, they close themselves off to any criticism. In the worst cases, it leads to journalists being murdered or imprisoned.

But there are also problems in a democracy like Germany. Can newspapers afford quality journalism, or better, quality journalists, when the number of subscribers and thus revenues are declining? Isn't the internet with information sites of NGOs, governments, government-related institutions with the free information offers a danger for independent newspapers? What about the free information offered by the public media? These are some of the explosive questions Tobias Piller has tried to discuss.

The biggest problem, as in many areas, is money: when media have no money, the first thing they do is cut correspondent positions. This reduces the flow of information worldwide. Only freelance journalists are employed, who then write reports based on emotions, are prone to fake news and no correspondent can give corrective reports.

At the end, Tobias Piller also had good news about freedom in the media: people are willing to pay for good journalism. And that, of course, supports the freedom-oriented way media work.

After this very informative lecture, we went to dinner in the beautiful dining hall of Villa Bonn. The attendants enjoyed the agile and friendly service and the very tasty, Italian-inspired menu. And of course, there were extended conversations among ourselves - about the lecture topic or simply about our own summer experiences. The president gave a short speech between the courses and thanked all the teams involved. The decoration team had again done a great job with international newspapers and sunflowers as table decorations. How nice: at the president's table, the speaker's wife had the "win": the decoration.

It was a wonderful evening and a successful start into the new club year.

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