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Germany's Bundestag congratulates DW on 70th anniversary

Jenipher Camino Gonzalez | Wesley Dockery
May 10, 2023

Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanked DW for its work, praising its "contribution to democracy" and commitment to press freedom.

DW's main headquarters in Bonn
DW is Germany's international broadcasterImage: M. Becker/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's parliament, or Bundestag, celebrated Deutsche Welle (DW) on the occasion of its 70th anniversary on Wednesday. 

The commemoration, attended by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth, and numerous guests, was held in the Bundestag and marked with a lively celebration.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered a video message that was displayed at the gathering, where he thanked DW for its work.

"As we celebrate 70 years of Deutsche Welle today, we also celebrate 70 years in which your broadcaster has rendered outstanding contribution to democracy," the chancellor said.

"In order for no one to believe that they can control words and thus control reality, we need independent media. We need journalists who work together worldwide for the freedom of the word. Just as Deutsche Welle has been doing for 70 years," Scholz added.

'Indispensable' for press freedom 

As Germany's international broadcaster, DW provides impartial news and information for audiences worldwide in 32 languages.

Roth highlighted that DW "stands for the free word." She praised DW's efforts in engaging debate on topics that are considered taboo in the broadcasters target regions.

"In view of the growing dangers to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of information, Deutsche Welle is indispensable," Roth added.

DW Director General Peter Limbourg spoke at the ceremony and reaffirmed DW's commitment to independent media and what that work entails.

"With our work, we have been disrupting autocrats for 70 years, causing trouble from time to time. That's why our employees — and often their families — are threatened and at risk in many places."

Deutsche Welle turns 70

DW's digital future 

DW was launched on May 3, 1953 during the Cold War. It was initially a radio broadcaster, later expanding its media offerings to television and subsequently to online.

Today, the broadcaster is looking ahead, by diving into new digital platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Amid global crises such as Russia's war in Ukraine, DW's mission of providing unbiased news and content has never been more important.

Crackdowns on free information in countries such as Iran and Belarus has also brought added relevance to DW's work in promoting press freedom.

DW has promoted censorship circumvention tools such as Psiphon to allow users in press-restricted countries to access its content. 

DW's target groups include young people, opinion leaders, those actively involved in public debate and those who are seeking to understand what is going on in the world.

By 2025, DW aims to become an essential source of digital information to its target audiences, featuring on-demand content that promotes dialogue.

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