Media Watch | Reading the German and Italian Press

Jun 2014

I chose 4 newspapers from the German speaking world, which have considerable influence and read their coverage of the Army operation between June 12th– June 16th.

German language press

Der Spiegel and Die Zeit from Germany are widely read all over the world and generally have good reporting. The NZZ from Switzerland is regarded as the daily with the highest reporting quality in the German speaking world and has good in depth reporting. Der Standard from Austria is internationally completely irrelevant, but it has the largest online forum in Europe by users.

It should be noted that the interest for Pakistan in Europe is limited. The attack on the Karachi airport was noted, for instance, but not with much detail. Apart from the German presence in northern Afghanistan, nobody seems to have a stake in the region. Because of the German presence in Mazar and Kunduz in Afghanistan, the press refers to the larger area, including Pakistan, as “the Hindu kush.”

Der Spiegel

Pakistan: Luftwaffe tötet Dutzende Taliban im afghanischen Grenzgebiet

Pakistan: Zahlreiche Tote bei bei US-Drohnenangriffen in Waziristan

Pakistan: Armee startet Offensive gegen Islamisten

Der Spiegel is one of the most influential weeklies in the German speaking world. They have reasonably good coverage of Pakistan and used to have a good correspondent in Islamabad. Their reporting is normally very balanced.

These three articles cautiously refer to “alleged insurgents”, “no definite numbers”, and point out that numerous sources speak of very different numbers. Sources are either “representatives of local security forces” or “the secret service.” They mention that the attacks are contested, and that many civilians will likely die as well. When referring to remarks made by the local military, Der Spiegel generally puts everything in quotation marks—which in this style in German suggests they don’t really believe what they hear/read.

Die Zeit

US-Drohnenpiloten fliegen Angriffe in Pakistan

Pakistan übt Vergeltung für Angriff auf Flughafen

Die Zeit has only two very short articles, referring to statements by “secret service sources”, and one reference to a statement by security analyst, Imtiaz Gul.


Apart from one two-paragraph article, the NZZ has no coverage of the Army operation at all. The newspaper does tend to have in-depth articles and occasionally good coverage of Pakistan. When it comes to daily reporting, however, they are not too keen.

Der Standard

Der Standard has 4 articles. They are all based on sources from the military or the secret service and are basically reports from the Austrian Press Agency. Sample article: Militäroffensive: Taliban drohen mit Vergeltung

Italian language press

La Repubblica

Pakistan: raid aerei in Waziristan Nord, 150 militanti morti

La Repubblica has a short mention of the beginning of the air raids. Interestingly, the paper does not refer either to the ISI or the security forces; instead, it quotes Geo television and TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid himself.

In other newspapers, like the Corriere della Sera or il Giornale, there are no mentions after the airport attack.

Jakob Steiner is a Grad Student of Environmental Engineering at ETH in Switzerland. He has lived and worked in different ‘post-colonial’ environments, from Australia to Pakistan. He holds a degree in Classical Music from his home country Austria and if patience permits plans to carry his Tabla skills to some higher level in future. He blogs

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3 Responses to Media Watch | Reading the German and Italian Press

  1. […] international, as it covers the latest army operation in North Waziristan. Check out our first, second and […]

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  3. […] Jun 16. 2014 –These are the types of sources and the number of instances of these sources in the English language news media, local and international, as it covers the latest army operation in North Waziristan. Check out our introduction with updating charts and our other posts. […]

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