Media companies have societal responsibility in a democracy, because they shape the way their readers, listeners, viewers, and users form their opinions. This is why Axel Springer is the only independent publishing house to have had a corporate constitution through the Essentials since 1967, to ensure it takes account of this responsibility in a transparent manner.
It was Axel Springer himself, who fixed in writing the idea of freedom as the most important value and the safeguarding thereof as the objective of his company: The Essentials derived from the commitment to freedom have been part of the articles of association as well as the contracts with the journalists in Germany, and have characterized Axel Springer ever since. In conjunction with the German version, an international version of the Essentials, introduced in March 2016, also unites all employees in all the companies belonging to Axel Springer in standing up for freedom.
The Essentials were formulated by Axel Springer in 1967, amended following German reunification in 1990 and supplemented in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 11 September 2001.
They are derived from the objective of Axel Springer to stand up for freedom. Because freedom is not something which is fought for and won, but has to be continually lived and defended. The Essentials are therefore more relevant today than ever - and they are something special. Something that distinguishes Axel Springer and endows it with meaning over and above pure economic success.
In view of the increasing internationalization of the company, the Executive Board of Axel Springer decided in 2016, in addition to the Essentials which apply to its employees in Germany, to introduce a variant with international validity. This gives all our employees worldwide an orientation toward the company’s objective of standing up for freedom.