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Shababtalk DW Fernsehsendung
Image: DW/M. Müller

DW's new Arabic channel

Nicolas Martin / js
December 14, 2015

DW's Arabic-language television channel is available in Europe. Now Arabic-speaking migrants will be able to receive satellite programming in their own language.


What industries are hiring? What do the Germans think about refugees? What is being debated in the Bundestag, Germany's lower House of Parliament? Refugees who come to Germany have a lot of questions. Now they can find answers to those questions on DW's Arabic-language television channel. The German overseas station is now transmitting its Arabic-language programming in Europe - around the clock.

Refugees can now receive information from and on Germany in Arabic. The DW channel will be available in most parts of Europe via the Astra satellite as of Tuesday, December 15, 2015. The first step will be the transmission of DW's Arabic-language channel - in the same format currently available in Arabic-speaking countries. It offers a focus on information, understanding and cultural exchange.

Empfangsmöglichkeiten Astra M1 DW Arabisch
The DW program is available across most of Europe beginning December 15, 2015Image: DW/A. Schmidt

Opening cultural and social doors

Over the coming months, DW's Arabic-language programming will be transformed into an integration and information channel for refugees. There are plans for content from German and European partners. The channel will, for instance, transmit German language courses in television format.

"In doing so, DW is contributing to the initial societal participation of refugees in Germany," said DW Director General Peter Limbourg. "We think it is important for us to be able to convey European values to these people, as well as giving them access to reliable information from a German perspective, but in their own language."

Promoting democracy and human rights

The project was made possible by a cooperation agreement between DW and the satellite provider SES, which will transmit the DW channel free of charge for one year. "We feel we have an obligation to provide our customers with good, added value offers," said Norbert Hölzle, head of SES's European sales division. "At the same time, we want to show just how important social commitment is for us." Deutsche Welle is an ideal partner in that respect because they are an internationally oriented media enterprise with a reputation for being a fair and neutral mediator.

Peter Altmaier, head of the Federal Chancellory, welcomed the announcement. As chief refugee policy coordinator, he said that the offer would provide a valuable contribution towards the integration of Arabic-speaking war refugees. Cultural Secretary Monika Grütters said that DW is taking a strong stance for democracy and freedom of opinion - and against intolerance and terror with the move. "Shows like Shabatalk, in which subjects considered taboo in the Arabic-speaking world are discussed, help to move along the dialogue," Grütters said. The Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Aydan Özoguz, said: "DW stands for democracy, freedom of speech and cultural exchange - now, even here at home."

DW - Peter Altmaier bei Conflict Zone
Peter Altmaier is the German government's Coordinator for Refugee PolicyImage: DW

Satellite dish and receiver suffice

The only thing needed to receive the channel is a satellite reception system. So the service can be very easily accessed in refugee centers. Depending on local reception, a satellite dish with a diameter of 60 to 80 centimeters is required. DW also began offering refugees extensive online information in late September. The tailor-made offer is available in English, Arabic, Dari, Pashto, Urdu and German.

Information is designed to help refugees deal with everyday life and visits to German administrative authorities, to find job opportunities and to learn German. With just a few clicks, people can navigate their way to the Deutsche Welle language courses that best suit their needs.

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