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Erik Bettermann: ‘We must counteract media depletion’

Interdisciplinary conference with approximately 900 participants from 100 countries comes to an end on June 4, 2008. Second Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum will take place in Bonn in 2009-


To close the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, the Director General from Germany’s international broadcaster appealed to the more than 900 participants from 100 countries to use the chances that media is awarded when it comes to peacebuilding and conflict prevention. “Misguided development can only be corrected when it is made public – and that requires impartial media,” said Bettermann.

Bettermann expressed concern that freedom of the press is being threatened worldwide more and more each day. He stated that two-thirds of the world’s people live in countries without any freedom of expression. However, he said that it isn’t right for the Western world to be “self-righteous” and solely point at censorship in China or developing and emerging countries in Africa. Because of the media concentration in many developed countries, Bettermann pointed out that subtle forms of censorship – and sometimes self-censorship – are forming.

The Director General said that the threat of “media depletion and a lack of pluralism is looming” and that internationally-operating media must counteract that. “We can highlight alternative perspectives and expand the range of information and the diversity of opinion. The media must live up to its responsibility by making impartial and nonpartisan information available,” said Bettermann. He furthered that by saying the media can help to deescalate conflicts and sustainably support the peacebuilding process. “In our globalized media world, where the news is being distributed faster and often unchecked, we need a distinctive form of journalistic ethics,” Bettermann stated. “Arbitrary government control and excessive economic interests are threatening the freedom of the press and freedom of opinion.”

Bettermann announced that the DW-AKADEMIE would expand its training for media representatives in developing and transformation countries. Deutsche Welle will start offering an international Master’s program for the journalists of tomorrow.

He also noted that the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum wouldn’t be just a one-time event. The successful conference will continue next year. “In the meantime, I hope that the participants maintain the contacts that they gained here in Bonn,” said Bettermann. “The push from these three days will start an international and interdisciplinary dialogue about globalization challenges where media plays a deciding role.”

June 4, 2008

Christoph Jumpelt

Christoph Jumpelt

Head of Corporate Communications and Spokesperson

T. +49.228.429-2041