The Traditional Asparagus Dinner of the Berlin Press Conference

Under the radiant sky of Berlin, the long-awaited traditional asparagus dinner of the Berlin Press Conference took place. Mayor Kai Wegner emphasized in his speech the critical importance of an independent press for democracy.

The festive event, which revived after a pandemic-induced hiatus, attracted numerous prominent guests, including senators, diplomats, and leading figures from Berlin’s business community. Alongside the city’s government chief, distinguished guests such as Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev and Darius Pawlos, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, were present to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the EU’s eastern expansion. It was a special honor to welcome four former mayors of the city: Walter Momper, Klaus Wowereit, Michael Müller, and Franziska Giffey.

Thomas Klein, Chairman of the Berlin Press Conference, seized the opportunity to warn about the increasing threat to press freedom. In his poignant address, he emphasized, “Independence and freedom of journalism are under pressure like never before. Verbal attacks are just the tip of the iceberg. During hate demonstrations against Israel, police now have to establish media protection areas to prevent physical attacks on journalists. I can only sound the alarm. Those who cut down the branches of democracy shouldn’t be surprised when the whole tree eventually falls.”

The asparagus dinner of the Berlin Press Conference was not merely a festive occasion but also an opportunity to reflect on and defend the indispensable role of press freedom in our society.