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I've had them all :)

LIQUI MOLY Managing Director Ernst Prost comments on freedom of the press and opinion

Dear colleagues,

I've had them all :) :) or they've had me... From Playboy to the BILD newspaper. From the WirtschaftsWoche magazine to the Jungen Freiheit weekly magazine. From the regional Südwest Presse publishers to Capital, Focus and a handful of TV stations. It's always an educational and at the same time pleasurable experience for me to meet with editors and journalists to talk about my TIME the WORLD and of course about LIQUI MOLY. I'm always on edge at each interview, curious to find out how the interviewer will span the range of topics from "A for acne or for attack" to "Z for zealous". My acne is undeniable – the scars are proof – but it's worth asking or discussing in more detail why I'm sometimes zealously attacked, particularly by whom and from which side I'm attacked.....

Although: At the moment, they're being nice to me.:)

Unbelievable what talented journalists can tease out of me by asking the right questions and being well prepared. It goes without saying that data, facts, figures, operational indicators, turnover and profit are always of interest. But that only concerns what is visible, quantifiable and countable - the 1/10 of the iceberg which is above water. Things really get down to business when the interviewer starts delving deeper and deeper into my past, into my soul and asking me about my world view of things. That's when we get down to the nitty-gritty, Namely to the hidden 9/10 of the iceberg below the water's surface. That's when things become fun. Even better when the interviewer poses tricky questions which force me to seriously reflect on things and startle me in my thoughts. As a result, I have frequently been forced, or better said, have been prompted to change our course of action and reflect on new paths to take. Suggestions for which I am extremely grateful when made by a serious and professional interviewer.

In all my dealings with the press, it's important for me to remain loyal to myself and not put on a false image. My opinion ratings are 1,000 more important to me than performance grades which somebody gives me. Taking a stance versus mainstream views! The freedom of the press is a basic right and valuable asset, just like freedom of expression. Two sides of the same coin. Taking a stance is when you say something intentionally and by doing so accept that you could suddenly be the center of a shirt storm started by someone who does not agree with what you're saying. Freedom of expression, like all of our basic rights, is built on the respect for the other person's opinion, belief or way of living. It would be awful if you didn't dare say anything anymore simply because you are frightened to express your opinion. We have experienced this before in Germany and it unfortunately still exists in many other countries today. Sometimes I read about an apparently "divided society". Sorry, but a society will always be divided and not a uniformed crowd of people which have to be brought into line.

Thank God for this diversity! The opposite is sameness and uniformity. We simply have to learn to live with the fact that everyone is different and people think as well as act differently. That's what I understand with the word democracy. The press is an important foundation of every free society. This is why I love working with editors and journalists. Even if I do sometimes have to take a grilling. :)

However, shame, ridicule, mockery and a contemption for others are not the tools of a good journalist. Quite the contrary. A newspaper should be made with love and not hate - because language forms how we think and thinking is the first step to taking action.... One of the greatest ever masters of the written word, who has now unfortunately passed away, once told me that, besides the search for the absolute truth, what he learnt most about others through his reporting work: The principles of dignity, honor, respect, civility and tolerance. - The perfect tools to get through life together without hurting or injuring anybody. And that's precisely what a society is. Not about radically enforcing your opinions but a loving understanding of one another.

Best regards,

Yours, 

Ernst Prost


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