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International Broadcaster Comes in for Praise from German Parliament

Parliament lauded Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, on the eve of its 50th anniversary. The law governing its multi-lingual radio, TV and internet broadcasts is up for amendment this year.


Deutsche Welle's new broadcasting centre in Bonn.

It isn't every day that government and opposition are of the same opinion, but when Thursday’s agenda in the German parliament turned to the Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's international broadcaster, everyone was singing to the same tune. Representatives of all political factions praised Deutsche Welle’s work over the past fifty years, and stressed DW's important role in portraying Germany overseas. The Deutsche Welle law is due to be amended in the Bundestag before the end of the year, a move which will be welcomed by the broadcaster, which officially celebrated its 50th birthday on Friday (27th June 2003) and used the occasion to inaugurate a new broadcasting center in Bonn. Great contribution to global dialogue

Monika Griefahn of the ruling Social Democrats, Chairwoman of the Committee for Culture and Media particularly praised Deutsche Welle’s multi-language television programming during the conflicts in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Speaking in the German parliament, Griefahn said that DW had made a significant contribution to global dialogue through cooperation with cultural ambassadors such as the Goethe Institute.

“These are building blocks which help Deutsche Welle and its listeners, viewers and on-line users to create a forum for discussion both in and about Germany. It is an agent for information on economics, politics, culture and science, which allows us to learn what others think whilst simultaneously sharing and representing our own views”, said Griefahn.

Portraying Germany abroad

Bernd Neumann, media expert in the conservative CDU/CSU Bundestag faction, believes the most important task for Deutsche Welle is to portray a comprehensive picture of Germany abroad. He says that only then is it possible to establish an inter-cultural dialogue. He agreed with Griefahn on Deutsche Welle’s role as an information source for countries with little or no press freedom, and cited Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as European examples: “People in this part of Europe, which is important for Germany, rely on Deutsche Welle programming, or that of other Western broadcasters to find out more about what is really happening in Chechnya, the persecution of human rights activists, or even about Germany’s stance on so-called “looted art”.

Neumann was critical of the broadcaster’s financial situation. He said that since the red-green coalition had taken office, funds had been cut by €135 million ($154 million) based on the last budget from the previous government. This year Deutsche Welle is working to a budget of €277 million ($316 million), but Neumann argued that in order to give the broadcaster some security, its financial needs should be calculated by an independent commission.

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