It is about the docudrama “The Good Goering” (2016), in which Schlesinger’s husband, Gerhard Spurl, took part. At that time, Schlesinger headed the Department of Cultural Programs and Documentaries in charge of production at NDR.
NDR spokeswoman Barbara Young explains the background.
What was the docudrama about?
Barbara Young: The documentary “The Good Goering” is about Albert Goering, brother of Hermann Goering. It tells the story of two different brothers. This documentary was a co-production of Vincent TV with NDR and Bayerischer Rundfunk. Patricia Schlesinger’s husband, Gerhard Spurl, was one of the screenwriters at the time. At the time, Spörl was working through the production company Vincent TV. In 2014, NDR was offered to shoot this material. This show coincided with a time when Patricia Schlesinger was responsible for the NDR’s Culture and Documentary Program area.
If you suspect a conflict of interest at the time, what is the procedure? What are the visions?
guy: At the time, everyone responsible for the NDR was aware that there could be a conflict of interest in the personal relationship between Gerhard Spurl and Patricia Schlesinger. It was answered accordingly. For example, production was commissioned with the approval of the director of television, that is, the next higher hierarchical level. In addition, the Television Directorate gave project responsibility to another program area, the NDR Television Programming and Coordination Area. The goal was to avoid this potential conflict of interest.
However, since the experience of the content was in the field of the culture and documentation program, the editors specialized there continued to accompany the project in terms of content. In addition, special attention has been given to ensuring that the principle of the four eyes is observed, especially in relation to economic decisions. At that time, economic decisions were always taken together with the production department of the NDR.
So when money flows into production companies – externally or internally – when it comes to large sums, then many people look at it?
guy: Yes, this is the default setting. The principle of the four eyes applies.
If everything was already vetted in 2016 before the film team was commissioned, why is it scrutinized again now? what is all of this?
guy: Although the NDR has already consciously taken all of these precautions to specifically avoid this potential conflict of interest, the NDR now has, given Events at rbb decided to take another closer look at the internal processes and check whether the service regulations were actually complied with. This is one test process – parallel to it there is another. This is the responsibility of the anti-corruption officer of the NDR. She received an outside inquiry about “The Good Goering”. This led to her testing.
To clarify: The NDR Anti-Corruption Officer is also the Head of Audit. It is independent of instructions and is the central point of contact for all questions related to avoiding, preventing and prosecuting corruption. For example, you check management as well as products in a non-delivery report or, for example, purchases. In addition, it is the contact point for the NDR employees as well as for third parties from abroad in case of any suspicion of corruption in the NDR.
This means that there are cases in the NDR to examine exactly such cases. Are there options other than the anti-corruption officer?
guy: Yes, there has been an outside trustee attorney that has been commissioned by the NDR for many years. NDR employees and third parties can turn to it if they suspect corruption.
Interviewed by Nina Zimmerman