Bertelsmann AG, Gruner + Jahr and RTL Group launch joint initiative for freedom and compassion - against hate and terrorism

Fund-raising drive for victims of the attacks in the US

Guetersloh/Hamburg/Luxembourg, September 14, 2001 – In response to the terrorist attacks on the US, Bertelsmann AG, the Gruner + Jahr printing and publishing group with their magazines and newspapers, and RTL Group are launching a joint initiative for freedom and compassion, against hate and terrorism.

An ad to be run in all Gruner + Jahr’s German-language and European publications and Germany’s major national dailies, supplemented by spots on RTL, VOX, RTL II and Super RTL as well as other RTL Group radio and TV stations in Europe, will encourage about this topic, and to express their feelings.

Tomorrow (Saturday, September 15, 2001), a website will be set up at, which will link to the online sites of all media taking part in the initiative. At the same time, the ads will be a fund drive for donations to be used for the victims’children. An education fund will be set up, among other things. (Account No. in Germany: 23 76 22 22, Stadtsparkasse Koeln, bank sort code 370 501 98, subject"Terroropfer USA")

The initiative’s leitmotif is "For freedom and compassion - against hate and terrorism.Let us point the way to the future, together."

Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Middelhoff comments on the initiative: "The attacks of September 11 and the following days not only gave rise to deep horror and sadness, but also showed that people all over the world do move closer together in thehour of need – here at Bertelsmann as well. A wave of solidarity and cooperativeness has swept our company. The joint initiative between Bertelsmann, Gruner + Jahr and RTL Group will lend expression to this solidarity and embrace our viewers and readers as well."

G+J CEO Bernd Kundrun, who originated the idea of this initiative uniting the print, TV and Internet media, stresses that, "together with our readers and viewers, we wish to send a clear signal of solidarity and commonality with the victims of these senseless and monstrous acts of violence in the United States of America. Many feel helpless in the face of the atrocities the people in the airplanes, in New York and in the Pentagon were subjected to. At the same time, they yearn to provide tangible assistance. This initiative will give people in Germany and Europe an opportunity to express their solidarity and eagerness to help."

Explains Ewald Walgenbach, Chief Operating Officer of RTL Group: "Our initiative for freedom and compassion is an avowal of our fundamental values in the wake of the devastating tragedy in the US. This kind of terrorist attack on the US, of a previously unimaginable magnitude, and in which thousands of innocent people lost their lives,must never be repeated! As a pan-European media company, RTL Group feels it has a special responsibility to further mutual understanding between different cultures. We aredeeply opposed to violence, destruction and terrorism in all its manifestations."

Says RTL CEO Gerhard Zeiler: "The initiative is our attempt to point the way to the future,above and beyond our coverage of events. Violence and terrorism simply must not be allowed to prevail. The attack against the US has confronted us with a completely new and incomprehensible dimension of terrorism. More than ever, we need a clear avowal of freedom and compassion. Media companies in particular have a responsibility to speak out in favor of fundamental, life-affirming values."

Bertelsmann companies do a third of their business in the US and have some 18,000 US employees, 5,000 of them in New York City alone. Gruner + Jahr (newspapers and magazines), RTL Group (TV, radio and production), Random House (book), BMG(music), DirectGroup (direct-to-customer business), Arvato (media services) and BertelsmannSpringer (trade information) have branches or headquarters in Manhattan.



For further questions:

Oliver Herrgesell, Bertelsmann AG
Tel. +49 – 52 41 – 80 24 66
Fax +49 – 52 41 – 80 66 13

Kurt Otto, Gruner + Jahr AG
Tel. +49 – 40 – 37 03-38 10
Fax +49 – 40 – 37 03-56 17

Ingrid M. Haas, RTL Television
Tel. +49 – 2 21 – 456-43 00
Fax +49 – 2 21 – 456-43 90