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50 years of DW's presence in Central and Southeastern Europe

July 5, 2012

Deutsche Welle's first radio broadcasts in Polish, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish went on air in 1962. Today, its programming for the region is a full multimedia spectrum that includes the Internet, television and radio.

DW TV moderator Dunja Dragojevic
Image: DW

In the difficult political climate of 1960s Europe and in the shadow of the Cold War, Deutsche Welle (DW) started broadcasting in East and Southeast European languages to help balance the points of view that listeners in the region were exposed to. Half a century later, a number of these language departments are continuing to provide a well-received journalistic service. In 2012, the Polish, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish editorial teams are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

DW's Polish Department has seen Poland undergo great transformations over the last few decades, and throughout this time, it has continued to inform the people in a way that challenges the stereotypical Polish perception of Germany. Today, it offers its audience an Internet news site and a German-Polish television magazine, “Euro sąsiedzi” (Euroneighbors), a co-production with Polish channel TVP Info, which reaches up to 500,000 viewers on a regular basis. Additionally, a special multimedia project titled “Pomosty” (Bridges) aims to show how the German-Polish relationship has developed over the past 20 years.

Multimedia programming for Southeast Europe

Making a similar switch from radio to audiovisual media, DW's Croatian programming has experienced great changes over the past five decades. Starting off as a radio service, it is now an Internet-oriented, multimedia information source. Each day, the website's users can read the latest news, focusing on German and European politics, German-Croatian relations and Croatia's EU membership campaign, as well as watch a video adapted into Croatian. At the same time, DW's Croatian television magazine “Eurobox” is redistributed via several broadcasters in the country.

In Serbia, the media landscape has liberalized since the collapse of Slobodan Milosevic's regime, creating more space for the DW Serbian news service. DW offers its Serbian audience a comprehensive news website alongside weekday radio broadcasts via partner stations, which include an in-depth current affairs show and regular news bulletins. A DW television magazine in Serbian is currently being produced.

Deutsche Welle's Turkish Department provides Turkish users with a multimedia news platform. They can also look forward to a planned expansion of video offerings. On July 1, 2012 TRT Türk started to broadcast the weekly TV magazine “DW ile Avrupa” produced by the Turkish Department. In addition to this, DW broadcasts 45 minutes of Turkish radio programming daily.

With its programming, Deutsche Welle strives to be a key source of news in central and southeastern Europe. Apart from Polish, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish, it also provides multimedia content in Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian and Romanian.

Partnering as key to success

In order to reach more local audiences, Deutsche Welle works closely with partner media organizations in its target countries. Radio B92, Radio Naxi and the web portal of the leading newspaper Blic are among DW's premium partners in Serbia. NTV, Acik Radyo, and the news site Haberler.com from Turkey have been cooperating with Deutsche Welle for many years. With the public broadcaster HRT and the online partner Net.hr and Tportal.hr, DW’s Croatian program is well received in the country. Apart from partners in Poland and Turkey, the European-themed magazines in local languages are also broadcast by TVR Info (Romania), TRM (Moldova), RTK (Kosovo), MTV 2 and ALFA TV (FYR Macedonia), News 24 (Albania), BHRT (Bosnia and Herzegovina) as well as nine regional TV stations in Croatia.

Contributing to regional media development

Building on DW's journalistic presence in the region, DW Akademie - Deutsche Welle's international center for media capacity building - runs various workshops in Central and Southeastern Europe. The most recent of these included a project for online journalists from Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro in Budva, Montenegro, a workshop for journalism students at Istanbul University on multimedia cultural reporting and a training project on election reporting in the run-up to the Serbian parliamentary elections in 2012. Later this year, DW Akademie will conduct a workshop on business reporting for journalists from Kosovo and Serbia in Belgrade.