The planned soccer festival on Tuesday evening in Munich has failed twice. First, because the German national soccer team directly blew its first appearance against France. Secondly, because a Greenpeace action in the stadium failed immediately before kickoff. The flier of a powered gliders almost crashed in the stadium and injured two uninvolved people during the spin. The Greenpeace protest directed against VW – once again. Even if the action is criticized by politicians, the German Football Association and VW, even if Greenpeace apparently apologized, the question remains: How far can protest go??
This is how Greenpeace
The organization, which operates as a registered non-profit association in Germany, may have apologized elsewhere for the accident, but there was no mention of it to our newspaper. To the question of our newspaper whether injuries of uninvolved persons would be calculated in the risk consideration, answered Greenpeace: "Safety is at the heart of Greenpeace actions. Therefore come – and came over decades – such emergencies as yesterday (answered on Wednesday, note of the editors) also as good as not occur."An incident like the one in Munich should not be allowed to happen. "The clarification of the exact course of events, we will fully support."
Greenpeace defended the Actions against VW. The company is the world's second-largest car company, "and of the good 9 million VW cars produced even in Corona year 2020, 95 percent still burn diesel and gasoline". VW has a special responsibility because of the high number of cars it sells. "VW's passenger car division alone is responsible for over one percent of global CO2 emissions," it said.
Greenpeace: "VW has not given an exit date from the internal combustion engine"
Despite the announcements on the E-mobility the company continues to invest billions in a new generation of Diesels and gasoline, Which would still be sold until at least 2040. "Unlike other carmakers, the VW Group has also not yet given an exit date from the internal combustion engine."
When asked why the organization was focusing on action and not just critical discussion at the annual general meetings of Volkswagen, REPLYED Greenpeace: He said the organization uses various avenues of "critical debate to draw attention to pressing environmental problems and reach out to the actors involved". This would include public discussions, for example at general meetings, as well as high-profile protest actions.
Greenpeace defends strategy
Greenpeace also defended its strategy of overstepping laws to attract attention. "Greenpeace argues for the protection of the environment and thus also develops the law further. This also involves our livelihoods and Human Rights, which need to be protected more strongly and thus should generally be given more priority than is currently the case," it said. The environment is also a so-called legal good. Greenpeace activists would defend these high-priority legal interests.
"When it comes to legal conflicts, it must be weighed in the negotiation which legal good is more important. After all, in a state governed by the rule of law, competing Legal catch also be fought out, the law must continue to develop along this path," argued Greenpeace. The organization has to accept that sometimes its catch-all position will not prevail. "We also use this route ourselves, Greenpeace takes legal action to have the primacy of the environment over other interests clarified and to develop the law further in this way. Of particular importance to us is the recent ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court calling for more climate protection so as not to unduly restrict the civil liberties of the younger generation."
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What VW says
The company described the actions of the Greenpeace activists with reference to endangerment and injury of uninvolved people as "unacceptable". "At the same time Volkswagen open to critical and constructive dialog on environmental and sustainability ies," was the statement from Wolfsburg.
The company has to deal with different stakeholder groups – such as shareholders, employees, customers, and suppliers – as well as Environmental protection organizations regularly in exchange. "At the same time, the Volkswagen Group is clearly committed to the Paris climate agreement by 2050," it said in a statement.
Although the VW responsible Developed a certain equanimity in the face of various actions by Greenpeace and other activists. Nevertheless, there is also the impression of being treated unfairly. After all, the automaker has embarked on the path of electric mobility like none of the other big players. The fact that VW nevertheless becomes a target time and again is attributed by the Wolfsburg-based company to the size of the group, which alone therefore offers a large projection surface and thus attention. Therefore, further actions by activists are not ruled out.
he communications expert
Harald Rau is professor of communication management at the Ostfalia University in Salzgitter. He sees the likelihood of a spiral of ever more spectacular actions by organizations such as Greenpeace and Co. arises. Reason: they are under prere to be heard in the media system, to attract attention. Also the condition of the medium system prepares Rau concern. On the one hand, there is the dwindling influence of traditional media, and on the other, the growing influence of Internet portals such as YouTube and communication networks.
As Rau explained to our newspaper, a media landscape based on the Anglo-Saxon model emerged in Germany after World War II, based on free journalism and objectivity – with traceable sources and journalistic classification. This system has created a social foundation, he said.
Professor of communications management: Bottleneck of classic media losing importance
But because this media system is dissolving, social cohesion is also dissolving, argues Rau. The former bottleneck of traditional media is becoming less important. Rau: "Anyone can communicate about anything."
What sounds harmless at first, according to communications experts, is not. Due to the multitude of Communication channels, especially on the Internet, a thicket is emerging that is difficult for laypeople to penetrate with Fake News, Half-truths and conspiracy theories. Another example, he says, is so-called transformative journalism, which combines reporting and activism. However, not to inform like the traditional media seriously, but to influence people.
Everyone finds what they are looking for on the Internet – without questioning themselves
Rau speaks with a view to portals and social networks of communication islands. There, he said, everyone can find what they're looking for without having to second-guess themselves or endure uncomfortable questions. A very comfortable, complacent system. Rau: "The Internet offers not only attention, but also recognition and confirmation."
He says this development is exacerbated by the Inadequate media competence of many young people, but also older people. Younger people often could no longer distinguish between different journalistic formats such as report, reportage and commentary, he said. Often they also find it difficult to distinguish between advertising and journalistic content. This is exemplified, among others, by Youtubers, who no longer heeded this separation. Rau's demand: In order for the next generation to keep track of the jungle of serious and dubious information, their media skills must be strengthened in schools. "Currently, too little is happening," he says.
Was Volkswagen damaged by the Greenpeace action?
Against this overall background, strategic communication is becoming increasingly important for companies. This applies in particular to crisis communication. One example is VW, the company has positioned itself professionally.
Whether the automaker will benefit from the actions of Environmentalists Rau did not want to estimate the damage that will be caused. "My feeling is that society as a whole is fed up with activists."