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German President praises outgoing ZDF Director General

(Photo: Dr Thomas Bellut – ZDF)

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has praised the achievements of the outgoing Director General of public service broadcaster ZDF, Dr Thomas Bellut, who has stepped down after leading the organisation for 10 years.

At a farewell ceremony for Dr Bellut in Mainz, President Steinmeier said he had made “made ZDF a successful brand of trust”.

In light of the war in Ukraine, the President emphasised the great importance of press freedom. “I thank all the journalists who report from the war zones under unimaginably difficult conditions.”

Freedom of the press was a hard-won and contested value, he said. “Without it, democracies cannot survive in the long run; with it, autocracies cannot survive.

“Hardly anyone knows this better than Thomas Bellut. You are passionately committed to the fight for international press freedom.

“Journalism is – far too often – life-threatening. But journalism is also vital for survival, and for all of us, for liberal democracy,” President Steinmeier said.

“That’s why I thank all journalists for their courageous work – and protecting their work is the job of all of us.”