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DW halts cooperation with Jordanian broadcaster

December 5, 2021

DW is probing "serious allegations" of antisemitism posted privately online by DW employees that were reported in German media. The broadcaster is also halting cooperation with Jordan's TV Roya over antisemitic content.

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'We have unequivocal rules against antisemitism and any form of discrimination at DW that apply to all employees, regardless of where they work and in what capacity at DW,' Director-General Peter Limbourg saidImage: S. Ziese/blickwinkel/picture alliance

Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's international broadcaster, has established an independent investigation into a press report on antisemitic remarks made by some members of the editorial staff at DW's Arabic service.

Director General Peter Limbourg has emphasized that there is a zero-tolerance policy toward antisemitism at DW. 

"The private statements made by some DW employees that were quoted in the press are incompatible with the values which we all stand for at DW," he said. 

The investigation will examine comments by DW employees in other media and on their personal social media profiles.

"To carry out the independent investigation, DW was able to appoint two specialists with a particularly high-level expertise for this task: former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and psychologist Ahmad Mansour. I thank them both for their contribution in bringing a prompt resolution to what has been a difficult time for DW."

Roya TV partnership halted

Germany's foreign broadcaster also said it was stopping cooperation with one of its Middle Eastern partners, Jordan's Roya TV, after discovering that the station was spreading antisemitic comments and cartoons.

"We are truly sorry that we did not notice these disgusting images," DW's managing director in charge of distribution, Guido Baumhauer, said. "We will now even more critically review our partner selection internally, especially with regard to antisemitism and racism."

DW also said it regretted its previous assessment that Roya TV was not anti-Israel.

Allegations 'deserve careful scrutiny'

The inquiry will include clarifying the reported incidents, examining possible failures within DW and recommending preventive measures for the future. The employees concerned have been suspended from work for the duration of the investigation.

Mansour, who has founded an initiative for democracy promotion and extremism prevention, said, "The allegations raised here must be taken very seriously.

"The task assigned to me ... requires that I approach it with the openness, neutrality, respect and responsibility it deserves," Mansour said.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger added: "DW's values and principles must be understood and lived by its staff. Violations of this code, as described here, are serious and therefore deserve careful scrutiny."

DW's journalistic principles are outlined in Germany's "Deutsche Welle Law," as well as DW's Code of Conduct and Editor-in-Chief guidelines.

"Following the investigation, DW will, if necessary, take immediate action should the allegations of violations of these rules prove to be true," said DW spokesperson Christoph Jumpelt.

Social media posts in the spotlight 

The investigation follows a report published on Tuesday by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung

The paper reported that members of DW's Arabic service and a freelance trainer had posted antisemitic comments on social media as well as in other media outlets in recent years. 

The remarks were posted on private social media accounts, with some posts later deleted.