Jean-Lou Siweck had differences with the board over the Wort’s editorial direction
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Wort editor quits
Jean-Lou Siweck will step down as editor-in-chief at the country’s most widely-read daily, the Luxemburger Wort, after allegedly clashing with the board of owners Saint-Paul Luxembourg over the newspaper’s editorial line.
A graduate in journalism and communication, Jean-Lou Siweck, 46, had been in charge of the Wort since 2013 after serving for nine years as a civil servant. Previously he had been a journalist at the Lëtzebuerger Land and Le Quotidien.
The official statement from Saint-Paul Luxembourg says the “separation” is the result of discussions between the board of directors and the editor-in-chief over the editorial direction of the Wort. Chairman of the board, former cabinet minister Luc Frieden, thanked Siweck for his “competence and professionalism” which, Frieden says, led to the Wort reinforcing its position as the “uncontested leader” in the written media in Luxembourg.
But reports elsewhere suggest that Frieden was unhappy that Siweck had made the newspaper too mainstream and that it had lost its centre-right political identity (Saint-Paul Luxembourg is owned by the Catholic Church and the Wort has traditionally been aligned with the CSV party). With parliamentary elections just one year away, it has been suggested that Frieden would like the Wort to be more favourable to the CSV. Delano’s sister publication Paperjam quotes one Wort journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying that Siweck was “the best editor-in-chief that the newspaper ever had.”
Several journalists have already quit the Wort this year, including Max Lemmer and one of the newspaper’s rising stars Christoph Bumb. Indeed, Bumb tweeted on Thursday after hearing the news that it was “a sad day for journalism in Luxembourg. It is time to redress the tradition of politically dependent media.” Jess Bauldry and Natalie Gerhardstein from the English-language website also both quit earlier this year--both joined Maison Moderne, the publisher of Delano.
In addition, the newspaper is being sued by local entrepreneur Gerard Lopez over allegations made in an article by journalist Pierre Sorlut (formerly of Paperjam) in October last year over links with the scandal at Malaysia's 1MDB state development fund.