Speaking today (22 June) in Kielce/Poland, Cornelia Pieper, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, commented on the confiscation of ZDF film material by the Equatorial Guinea authorities as follows:
“In the run-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, a ZDF camera team was in Equatorial Guinea to find out about women’s football there. Their film material was confiscated as they were about to leave the country.
This intervention by the country’s security authorities and the confiscation of the team’s film material are not only a major infringement of press freedom but also contrary to the whole spirit of the Women’s World Cup due to begin in Germany shortly. I expect the media – including, as in this case, the ZDF – to be able to report freely in Equatorial Guinea and elsewhere. In my view there has clearly been an infringement here of absolutely fundamental aspects of freedom of the press and freedom of information.
I have arranged for the Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to be called in to the Federal Foreign Office today. It was made very plain to him that Germany is not prepared to tolerate any infringements of press freedom and that developments in this area are an important basis for continued progress in our bilateral relations. The Federal Foreign Office has also demanded that the confiscated film material be returned to the ZDF. The German Ambassador in Malabo has been instructed to deliver a demarche along the same lines to the Government of Equatorial Guinea.
I will also be informing FIFA President Joseph Blatter about the incident and asking him to help reach a solution that is satisfactory for the ZDF. I will seek a meeting, too, with the playmaker of the Equatorial Guinea women’s football team, who plays very successfully for Turbine Potsdam in the German Bundesliga.”