German government decried the decision by Russia to yank the press credentials of all staff of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) working in Russia, while also closing down the DW bureau in Moscow.
The decision taken by the Russian government to shut down DW Moscow office is “a new strain in German-Russian relations,” Berlin said.
“The measures announced today by the Russian government against Deutsche Welle lack any basis,” a statement from the German Foreign Ministry said while condemning the latest Russian government assault on freedom of the press in Russian Federation.
“If these measures were actually implemented, it would significantly restrict the free reporting of independent journalists in Russia, which is particularly important in politically tense times.”
The sharp reaction in Berlin follows a decision by Moscow to withdraw the press credentials of all Deutsche Welle staff working in Russia while also ordering the company’s bureau in the capital to close.
The row comes against the backdrop of increasingly bad relations between Russia and the West, as tensions rise on the Ukrainian border.
However, Berlin has been willing to cooperate more with Moscow than the majority of other EU capitals, as displayed by the recent completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and a recent announcement by Chancellor Olaf Scholz that he is looking for a “fresh start” in relations with Germany.
Deutsche Welle or DW is a German public state-owned international broadcaster funded by the German federal tax budget. The service is available in 30 languages. DW’s satellite television service consists of channels in English, German, Spanish, and Arabic.
The work of DW is regulated by the Deutsche Welle Act, meaning that content is intended to be independent of government influence. DW is a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
DW offers regularly updated articles on its news website and runs its own center for international media development, DW Akademie. The broadcaster’s stated goals are to produce reliable news coverage, provide access to the German language, and promote understanding between peoples.
DW has been broadcasting since 1953. It is headquartered in Bonn, where its radio programmes are produced. However, television broadcasts are produced almost entirely in Berlin. Both locations create content for DW’s news website.
It is also a provider of live streaming world news which can be viewed via its website, YouTube, and various mobile devices and digital media players.
As of 2019, around 1,500 employees and 1,500 freelancers from 60 countries work for Deutsche Welle in its offices in Bonn and Berlin.