DW director Limbourg: “The Russian government overreacted”

Status: 04.02.2022 17:04

The director of Deutsche Welle, Limbourg, responded to that tagesschau24 Moscow’s broadcasting ban on Deutsche Welle was criticized as excessive. Moscow warned the German government of an escalation.

Peter Limbourg, Director General of Deutsche Welle, in an interview with tagesschau24 sharply criticized the withdrawal of the broadcasting license for Deutsche Welle by the Russian government. “What is being executed on us is the greatest possible thing that can be done to us.”

The fact that the office in Moscow is being closed and that more than 19 colleagues are no longer allowed to work is “a drastic overreaction by the Russian government” and “was absolutely not to be expected,” said Limbourg.

Peter Limbourg, director of Deutsche Welle: “What is being executed on us now is the greatest possible thing that can be done to us in Moscow”

tagesschau24 3:00 p.m., 4.2.2022

The Russian government had previously often and clearly complained about Deutsche Welle’s programs. But you could deal with that and, above all, you could move and report freely in the country. “We’ve always tried to show the whole picture of Russia,” Limbourg said. That is now no longer possible.

Limbourg had previously announced legal action to take action against the ban on broadcasting and the ban on employees working. They want to know from the Russian government what legal basis there is for the measures.

Response to decision on RT

On Thursday, Russia issued a broadcast ban to the German foreign broadcaster. In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry ordered the closure of the DW correspondent’s office in Moscow and the withdrawal of journalists’ accreditations. This was Russia’s response to a broadcast ban on German-language TV programs by its state broadcaster RT, which the German media regulators announced on Wednesday. They cited the lack of a broadcasting license for Germany as the reason. However, Russia went much further with its measures than Germany.

Although RT is also not allowed to broadcast in Germany, employees of the station are allowed to continue working. “RT’s journalistic work in Germany was never restricted,” said deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner. “The federal government has no influence here.”

Meanwhile, Moscow warned the Federal Republic of a worsening of the conflict. “If Germany is out for escalation, then we will respond accordingly,” said ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in Moscow. “If Germany agrees to normalizing the situation, then we will reply that we are ready to normalize the situation.”

“A really aggressive act”

The federal government had sharply condemned the broadcasting ban. The measures are completely unfounded, said Büchner. “We urgently appeal to the Russian side not to abuse the broadcaster RT’s licensing problems to restrict freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”

“This is an aggressive act,” Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and the Media

Morning magazine, February 4th, 2022

The Minister of State for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth, also voiced clear criticism. “It’s a really aggressive act,” said the Greens politician ARD morning magazine. “But we don’t need aggressive acts, we need dialogue, we need de-escalation and not escalation.” The procedure is an expression of a major crisis.

Roth emphasized that such a decision in Germany would be taken by the media authorities and independently of the federal government. “That would apply to a US broadcaster as well as to a Russian broadcaster.” She criticized RT DE for not having applied for a license in the first place. The Foreign Office also rejected any comparison and warned of renewed strain on German-Russian relations.

Kühnert: “This is political arbitrariness”

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert said about the broadcast ban for Deutsche Welle that the decision was completely out of thin air. “This is political arbitrariness that is being used there.” Once again, freedom of the press is being restricted in a completely impermissible manner – “and that in a country where, unfortunately, freedom of the press is not particularly far off anyway.” He assumes that Chancellor Olaf Scholz will address the issue during his planned visit to Moscow, said Kühnert.

The editor-in-chief of RT, Margarita Simonyan, said that to her knowledge, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock did not want to discuss the topic at her recent meeting with her colleague Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. Accordingly, Germany was also proposed a compromise for a way out of the conflict.

“A serious violation of freedom of the press”

Deutsche Welle is the international broadcaster of the Federal Republic of Germany, it makes programs in 30 languages ​​and has its headquarters in North Rhine-Westphalia. The prime minister of the federal state, Hendrik Wüst, also condemned Russia’s actions against the broadcaster. This is a “serious violation of press freedom and unacceptable,” said the CDU politician.

Aggressive act: Political reaction to DW ban in Russia

Angela Tesch, ARD Berlin, 4.2.2022 · 12:30 p.m.


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