"A milestone in Germany's media policy" is how Director General Erik Bettermann described the decision by Chancellor Merkel and the state governments to foster cooperation between DW and domestic broadcasters.
The federal and state governments' move to back a stronger partnership between Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, and ARD (Association of Public Broadcasting Corporations in Germany), ZDF and Deutschlandradio means "no more and no less than the cooperation of Deutsche Welle and the domestic media as equals," said Bettermann. He emphasized that he was "very satisfied with the decision."
Bettermann particularly welcomed that the chancellor and the state government leaders wished to develop this cooperation further. This marks "a huge step towards securing the future for Germany's international broadcaster," said Bettermann, adding, "I am happy that, with this decision, the federal and state governments have clearly acknowledged the significance of stronger international media presence for Germany."
Deutsche Welle's director general emphasized that, according to this decision, all programs produced by the domestic public broadcasters could in principle be considered for inclusion in DW programming. This also explicitly includes fictional formats.
Aside from sharing program content, the federal and state government leaders back DW's intention "to develop a joint strategy and generate content as part of a production community. In accord with the broadcasters' respective missions, these co-productions can be broadcast both in the domestic and, if applicable, in adapted forms in the partners' international programs," said Bettermann.
Bettermann also stressed that Deutsche Welle would adapt the domestic broadcasters' programs for DW's foreign language offerings for TV, radio and the Internet. "Thus, in the future, we can fulfil our mission as Germany's media calling card in the world even better," said the director general.
The decision by the federal and state governments on June 13 followed intensive negotiations between Deutsche Welle and ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio as well as with the Federal Government and the states' broadcasting advisors.
In April 2011, the German Bundestag called upon the Federal Government, "together with the state prime ministers, to foster the exchange of content between Deutsche Welle and ARD, ZDF as well as Deutschlandradio."
The details of the enhanced cooperation will be determined by the broadcasters during the course of this year. Following a two-year test phase, ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandradio and Deutsche Welle will submit to the federal and state government leaders a joint report based on the experience gained.