A number of staffers in Deutsche Welle’s Arabic department have been terminated from Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle after the employees were accused of antisemitism.
Following allegations against its employees, Deutsche Welle (DW) has initiated termination proceedings in five cases, according to DW director Peter Limbourg during a press conference. The broadcaster gave no information about the employees involved. As a result of the allegations, the broadcaster wants to produce a company-wide definition of antisemitism that all employees must know and not violate. The definition would include the recognition of Israel’s right to exist and the rejection of denial and trivialization of the Holocaust, according to a report from Germany’s Tagesschau news outlet.
In the past few weeks, an external investigation initiated by the broadcaster has been underway against some employees of the Arabic editorial team and freelance Deutsche Welle employees abroad. The investigation began as a result of allegations of antisemitism that became public through a piece in the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily at the end of November. The employees were suspended during the audit.
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Former Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and the psychologist Ahmad Mansour presented the results of their external examination. They emphasized that it was a case of isolated misconduct, and that structural antisemitism in the Arabic editorial team was not uncovered.
Besides the five separation procedures, Deutsche Welle is investigating 11 other suspected cases, according to Limbourg.
“I and the management are sincerely sorry that we are in this situation. The mere suspicion that there is antisemitism in a German tax-financed institution must be unbearable for Jews in this country and worldwide,” Limbourg emphasized at the beginning of his speech.
“The broadcaster should now quickly implement the experts’ recommendations. In three months, Deutsche Welle should present an initial report about the measures taken,” the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, commented about the case.
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth also underlined the special role of Deutsche Welle.
“Deutsche Welle has to respect and protect human dignity in its broadcasts,” she stated. She condemned that such an incident occurred in one of Germany’s taxpayer-funded news outlets.