If the state executive committee of the pirate party in lower saxony has its way, there will be a similar arrangement at this weekend’s party conference: a mixed area in which picture and sound recordings are possible, and a private zone in which the pirates are among themselves. Observers wonder: this is supposed to be the party that stands for rough transparency and publicity?
Sharp criticism comes from the german journalists’ association. State chairman frank rieger criticizes the "zone" as unacceptable. "The question is: why do the pirates behave differently than the established parties??" Says the journalist. Osnabruck political scientist roland czada also shakes his head. "It certainly wasn’t smart."Especially a party that is committed to transparency would do well to practice it itself.
Meanwhile, the spokeswoman of the lower saxony pirates, angelika schurmann, is trying to limit the damage. A few days after the first public outcry over the "mixed zone," she speaks of an unfortunate choice of words. The journalists in wolfenbuttel were of course able to follow the debates. It is only a question of some party members wanting to have a private area in which they could not be filmed.
In the past, there have been repeated warnings to the press at party conferences when people were filmed without being asked, says schurmann. After all, he said, it was not delegates, not "trained professionals," but volunteer politicians.
The press spokeswoman of the federal party, anita mollering, also uses this argument to gain understanding. "There are various reasons why someone did not want to be filmed." She sees the party in a balancing act between the protection of privacy and publicity as well as transparency. It was not a question of obstructing reporting.
Political scientist czada says he can understand why a party conference participant doesn’t want to be on TV. However: "being a party member is a public commitment."In germany, parties are public institutions with constitutional status for which there is tax money – and not secret lodges. "That party members want to act in secret, that is not comprehensible."
No one knows yet whether a "mixed zone" will actually be set up in wolfenbuttel, which, according to the state party’s announcement, is to be separated by orange tape. "In the end, the party congress will decide if it really exists," says mollering.
For the berlin pirates, who have a party conference on the agenda in september, the matter seems relatively clear. "No one said transparency was fun or easy. But we have to get through it. If a pirate feels disturbed by the reporting, we can’t limit the freedom of the press because of that," says enno lenze, spokesman for the berlin pirate party.