German wave

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Pictogram for a radio tower
German wave
station logo
Made for minds.
Radio station ( public service )
program type international broadcasting
reception analogue terrestrial , digital cable , satellite , live stream
reception area world world
broadcast start May 3, 1953
owner Germany Federal Republic of Germany
broadcaster German wave
director Peter Limbourg
program director Gerda Meuer
news chief Editor-in-Chief
Manuela Kasper-Claridge
List of radio stations
Main broadcasting center of Deutsche Welle in Bonn ( Schürmann building )

Deutsche Welle ( DW ) is the international broadcaster of the Federal Republic of Germany . "The Wave" was founded in 1953; it is an institution under public law and a member of the ARD , but is not financed by broadcasting contributions, but by taxpayers' money. The German locations are in Bonn and Berlin , with Bonn acting as the headquarters. Programs are offered in 30 languages. Traditionally, the playout took place exclusively via short and medium wave. Since the 1990s, in addition to shortwave with its large terrestrial range, the station has used satellite transmission , an Internet live stream and, in some countries, the VHF band locally. Deutsche Welle works tri -media : television ( DW-TV ), radio and Internet (

Journalist Peter Limbourg has been director of Deutsche Welle since October 1, 2013 .

Bonn, Deutsche Welle, aerial view (2017)
DW logos
Deutsche Welle Logo.svg
Current logo of Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle umbrella brand.svg
Logo until February 5, 2012
DW Radio.svg
Logo until February 5, 2012
Deutsche Welle Television.svg
Logo until February 5, 2012
TV reporter for Deutsche Welle in Dresden


In accordance with Article 4 of the Deutsche Welle Act, Deutsche Welle's offerings are intended to make Germany understandable as a cultural nation that has grown throughout Europe and as a free, democratic constitutional state.

"They are intended to provide a forum for German and other perspectives on key issues, especially politics, culture and business, both in Europe and on other continents , with the aim of promoting understanding and exchange between cultures and peoples. Deutsche Welle is particularly promoting the German language."

This makes it one of the pillars of foreign cultural policy in the Federal Republic of Germany. DW plans its tasks itself for a period of four years with annual updates ( § 4a DWG).

Deutsche Welle draws up a task plan for a period of four years on its own responsibility, using all information and assessments that are important for its assignment, in particular its existing foreign policy expertise.

In doing so, program goals, priority projects and their weighting for the fulfillment of their tasks according to §§ 3 and 4 are presented for their offers, "broken down in particular according to target areas, target groups, distribution channels and types of offer".

It forwards this task planning to the German Bundestag and the Federal Government after the Federal Government has decided on the next federal budget and financial plan .

The draft of the task planning is also "published in a suitable manner in order to give the interested public at home and abroad the opportunity to comment."

The federal government will comment on the substantive aspects of Deutsche Welle's task planning within six weeks. The German Bundestag should deal with the planning of tasks within two months, taking this statement into account.

In addition, the Federal Government is informing Deutsche Welle of the financial parameters decided in the current budgetary process, insofar as Deutsche Welle is affected.

DW then decides on this task planning through the Broadcasting Council with the approval of the Administrative Board and taking into account statements from the Bundestag, the Federal Government and the interested public ( § 4b DWG). The planning is supplemented by an ongoing evaluation, on which a report is drawn up for each four-year planning period ( § 4c DWG).

The director manages Deutsche Welle independently, has primary responsibility and is responsible for program design and the entire operation of the institution.

According to the decision recommendation and report of the Committee for Culture and Media (22nd Committee 2014), Deutsche Welle positions itself in the draft of the task planning 2014 - 2017 as a "global information provider from Germany with high regional competence". The declared goal is to shape the international media agenda more than before, with "the German foreign broadcaster presenting the German perspective on (daily) current world events".

Program Policies

Paragraph 5 of the German Wave Act (DWG) obliges the programs to enable an independent formation of opinion. They "may not unilaterally support a party or other political association, a religious community, a profession or an interest group" (paragraph 2, sentence 1). In paragraph 3, sentence 1 it is further stated: "The reporting should be comprehensive, truthful and factual and be carried out in the knowledge that the programs of Deutsche Welle affect the relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and foreign countries." The origin and content of the news are included "to be examined with due care" (paragraph 3, sentence 2). Particular mention is made of the separation of comments from messages: "Comments must be clearly separated from messages and identified as such, naming the author" (paragraph 3, sentence 3).


Paragraph 6 of the DWG contains extensive mentions of inadmissible content, especially with regard to content that impairs development .

DW has formulated the requirement for its content that it wants to provide a “profound and reliable range of information”. The contents of the programs have an emphasis on news, documentaries and cultural reporting. Content (radio, television and online) is produced in 30 languages ​​(as of 2018).


Paragraph 19 regulates the complaints procedure. Everyone has the right to contact Deutsche Welle with suggestions about the program and submissions. If the violation of programming principles is alleged, the complaint should be made immediately after the broadcast of the program. The decision is made in writing by the director within one month. The Broadcasting Council is to be informed of program complaints and notices. "If the director does not remedy the program complaint or does not do so within the period specified in paragraph 2 sentence 2, the complainant can contact the Broadcasting Council, which will then decide on the program complaint. The director must expressly point out this possibility in his decision."


legal form

The broadcasting corporation under federal law DW is a non-profit institution under public law . As such, it is subject to the legal supervision of the federal government. To protect DW's freedom of the press, however, technical supervision is excluded ( §61 DWG ). The director reports to the broadcasting council and the administrative board and is responsible to them.

supervisory bodies

The Broadcasting Council and the Board of Directors of Deutsche Welle are the supervisory bodies.

The members of the councils are not bound by orders or instructions. The term of office of the Broadcasting Council and the Board of Directors is five years.

Broadcasting Council

The Broadcasting Council represents the interests of the general public and monitors compliance with programming principles. He elects the director and advises him on program matters.

The Broadcasting Council consists of 17 members: two elected by the Bundestag and two by the Bundesrat, three nominated by the Federal Government and ten members nominated by a defined group of groups and organizations.

Resolutions are made with the majority of the votes of those present if at least the majority is present, i.e. at least 5 votes with 9 members present. For important decisions, such as the dismissal of the director, 2/3 of the members must agree, i.e. at least 12.

Members of the Broadcasting Council of Deutsche Welle (since March 2019)
member function named by
Prelate Karl Jüsten , head of the Catholic Office in Berlin chairman Catholic Church
Dagmar Freitag , MP (SPD) vice-chairman Bundestag
Elisabeth Motschmann , MP (CDU) Bundestag
Michelle Müntefering , MdB, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office federal government
Norbert Barthle , MdB, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development federal government
State Secretary a. D. Günter Winands , Ministerial Director at the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media federal government
Ulrike Hiller , former State Councilor D ( Bremen ) Federal Council
Markus Ulbig , former Minister of State D ( Saxony ) Federal Council
Vera Szackamer Chair of the DW Akademie committee Central Council of Jews in Germany
Frank Kopania, head of the foreign work department in the EKD church office Protestant church
Petra Tzschoppe, Vice President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB)
Tanja Gönner , Spokeswoman of the Board of Directors of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
Wolfgang Uellenberg-van Dawen, former Head of Politics and Planning at the trade union ver.di Chair of the Program Committee union apex organisations
Klaus Reichert , Honorary President of the German Academy for Language and Poetry German Academy for Language and Poetry
Susanne Keuchel , President of the German Cultural Council German cultural council
Dieter Lenzen , President of the University of Hamburg University Rectors' Conference
Frank Thewes, Head of Communications at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce Confederation of German Employers' Associations in agreement with the German Industry and Commerce Association (DIHT)

Board of Directors

The board of directors monitors the management of the artistic director outside of program design. It consists of 7 members. The members not elected or appointed by the state organs of the Federal Government, Bundestag and Bundesrat are elected by the Broadcasting Council as representatives of social groups and organizations.

Members of the Board of Directors of Deutsche Welle (since March 2019)
member function named/chosen by
Peter Clever , Member of the Executive Board of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations chairman Broadcasting Council
Ulrich Silberbach , Federal Chairman of the German Association of Civil Servants Deputy Chairman Broadcasting Council
Wolfgang Schmidt , State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance federal government
Volker Kauder , MP Bundestag
Mark Speich , State Secretary for Federal, European and International Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia Federal Council
Herzs Krymalowski, Central Council of Jews in Germany Broadcasting Council
Claudia Mast , University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim , University Rectors ' Conference Broadcasting Council


Even though DW, like the public broadcasters, is an institution under public law, it does not receive any grants from broadcasting contributions . The financing of DW is largely financed with tax money from the federal budget. Deutsche Welle receives its subsidy from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media , which in turn is assigned to the individual plan of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Chancellery in the federal budget . In addition, Deutsche Welle is permitted to generate other income, for example from advertising and sponsoring (“sponsoring” in the terminology of the Deutsche Welle Act). The 2018 budget was 326 million euros.

staff and staff representation

Around 1,500 permanent employees and almost as many freelancers from 60 nations work at the DW headquarters in Bonn and at the Berlin location. 350 are organized in the German Association of Journalists , whose list was also elected to the staff representation. Voter turnout was 64%.

Church reference

The Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches have the following sections on Deutsche Welle on the Internet: Understand Germany, Discover Germany and Germany Protestant Catholic. The Christian pages are solely the responsibility of the churches as so-called “offers of proclamation ”.

The director Peter Limbourg also works as an advisor to the journalistic commission of the German Bishops' Conference and is a member of the Diocese of Malteser .

Karl Jüsten has been the Chairman of the Broadcasting Council and thus the top DW controller since 2014 . The prelate 's main job is the head of the Catholic Office in Berlin, a lobby organization of the Roman Catholic Church .

DW Academy

DW Akademie is Deutsche Welle 's international center for media development, media consulting and journalistic education and training. It works with partner broadcasters, organizations and universities worldwide. A particular focus is on the development and strengthening of free media in over 50 developing, emerging and transition countries. The work is mainly financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Other sources of funding are the Federal Foreign Office and the European Union .

The academy conducts professional media training at the Bonn and Berlin locations. In these training courses, internationally experienced media experts prepare specialists and executives from politics, business and organizations for public appearances at home or abroad and impart skills in areas such as social media or crisis communication.

Deutsche Welle's bilingual traineeship training is based at DW Akademie. The young journalists go through an 18-month apprenticeship here and are trained in the three areas of television, radio and online. In cooperation with the University of Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences , DW Akademie offers a master's degree in International Media Studies.

Carsten von Nahmen has been head of the academy since September 2018. As of February 2017, he previously reported as senior correspondent for DW's Washington studio. In 2014, von Nahmen became deputy editor-in-chief and head of DW's news department. Christian Gramsch was director of DW Akademie until May 2018, and DW's multimedia director for regions until November 1, 2013. He succeeded Gerda Meuer , who worked, among other things, as a correspondent for the development policy press agency Inter News Service and as deputy editor-in-chief of the radio program of Deutsche Welle. She has been the station's program director since November 1, 2013.

DW Akademie goes back to the Deutsche Welle Training Center (DWAZ). This began work in 1965 and was initially intended as an instrument of media promotion for Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the same year, the first training course for three radio technicians from Radio Rwanda took place in Cologne. Since 1970 there has also been training for television employees. DWAZ Fernsehen, which was founded in Berlin for this purpose, was affiliated with the Freies Berlin broadcaster .

The first training outside of Germany took place in Tunis in 1971 to prepare sports journalists for reporting on the Olympic Games in Munich . After German reunification, the DWAZ offered training for media workers from Eastern Europe for the first time in 1990. Twelve radio journalists from Poland and Hungary took part in a management course in Germany. In 1992, the DWAZ reached India with training at All India Radio .

In 1996, the two training centers for radio and television were combined under the umbrella of Deutsche Welle. From then on, the merged institutions were called the DWFZ Training Center. As a result of restructuring, DW Akademie was founded in 2004, and since then it has also regularly held media training courses for the diplomatic school of the Federal Foreign Office. The DWFZ and the areas of journalistic training and further education of DW are bundled in the DW Academy.



A predecessor with a similar name was Deutsche Welle GmbH , which was founded in August 1924 by Ernst Ludwig Voss in Berlin and broadcast regularly from January 7, 1926. Its owners were initially 70% the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft and 30% the state of Prussia . From 1931 Deutsche Welle broadcast from the Berlin House of Broadcasting . On January 1, 1933, Deutsche Welle GmbH was officially incorporated into Deutschlandsender GmbH .

The station sees itself in the tradition of Germany's first international broadcaster, the world broadcaster of the Weimar Republic . The world broadcasting station was renamed Deutscher Kurzwellensender in 1933 by the Nazi regime .

The 1950s to 1980s

Former Deutsche Welle building in Cologne (2003)
Demolition of the building in February 2020 …
... and completed dismantling in March 2021

On May 3, 1953, Deutsche Welle went on the air for the first time with German-language radio on shortwave . The greeting address "to the dear compatriots all over the world" was spoken by the then Federal President Theodor Heuss . On June 11, 1953, the members of the ARD signed the contract for the establishment of the joint shortwave program "Deutsche Welle". Responsibility for the program lay initially with what was then Northwest German Broadcasting (NWDR), and later with West German Broadcasting (WDR) in Cologne, so that its respective director was also responsible for “Deutsche Welle”. In October 1954, Deutsche Welle started radio broadcasts in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish.

In 1960, the “Deutsche Welle” became an independent institution under public law by federal law . The law passed by the German Bundestag on October 26, 1960 on the establishment of broadcasting corporations under federal law of November 29, 1960 stipulated that Deutsche Welle, as a shortwave broadcaster, broadcast broadcasts for foreign countries and Deutschlandfunk , which was also founded with this law, broadcast broadcasts for (all of) Germany and other European countries should produce. When the law came into force on December 16, 1960 , the two new institutions were deemed to have been set up according to Section 33. The ARD's mandate to WDR to operate “Deutsche Welle” as a joint facility expired. However, Cologne-based DW joined ARD on June 7, 1962, so that ARD's original connection with DW was restored.

In 1962 the radio program was expanded, since then it has also been broadcast in Persian, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Serbian and Croatian. 1963 followed Kiswahili and Hausa for Africa, Indonesian as well as Bulgarian, Romanian and Slovenian. In the same year, DW also sent out film prints for television for the first time. From 1964, DW also broadcast in Greek, Italian, Hindi and Urdu, and from 1970 in Pashto and Dari.

The studios and editorial departments kept changing their locations in Cologne. In 1974, construction work began in the south of the city on the new radio building designed by the Stieldorf planning group on the Raderberg belt for DW and DLF, which was inaugurated in 1980 and which was completely dismantled in 2021 due to asbestos pollution.


German program (1993)
Frequencies and Languages ​​(1993)
Headquarters of Deutsche Welle in Berlin (Gesundbrunnen, Voltastrasse  6)

RBI cessation With German reunification in 1990, Radio Berlin International (RBI), the GDR's foreign service, stopped broadcasting. From then on, some RBI employees found work at Deutsche Welle, and parts of the transmission technology, including the transmission system in Nauen and its frequencies, were also taken over.

New language programs 1992 On April 1, 1992, the station began its active television era with the German and English language television program DW-TV from Berlin. The programs are broadcast via satellite and will be further expanded in the years that follow. It is now also broadcast in Spanish and Arabic. RIAS- TV, which had started a few years earlier, merged with DW-TV . In 1992, DW also began broadcasting in Albanian.

Deutschlandfunk dissolution In the run-up to the new federal broadcasting structure, which in 1994 led to the dissolution of Deutschlandfunk as an independent broadcasting corporation and its transfer to Deutschlandradio , Deutsche Welle took over some foreign-language broadcasts from DLF in 1993. A year later, DW launched its website at “”, making it the first public broadcaster in Germany to be represented on the World Wide Web .

Building in Berlin

After RIAS TV was dissolved in 1992, Deutsche Welle moved into the studios on Voltastraße in Berlin-Gesundbrunnen on the site of former AEG industrial plants . A new building was erected there between 1994 and 1996.

Cuts DW is suffering from massive financial and personnel cuts. Within five years, the budget was reduced by around 75 million euros up to 2004. The number of posts has been reduced from 2,200 to 1,200 since 1994. However, the Federal Government, which has been in office since autumn 2005, has again increased the budget in the 2006 budget passed by the Bundestag. At the end of the 1990s, DW hired numerous editorial offices. In 1998 she ended her offer in Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Italian and Sanskrit. Japanese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Czech and Hungarian followed at the end of 1999. As for the Spanish editorial team, only radio has been discontinued. DW gave the lack of demand in the target countries as the reason for the cuts. The second round of cuts in particular was also due to federal funding cuts (see above).

Since 2000

Studio in the headquarters of Deutsche Welle in Bonn

New programs Ukrainian-language programs began in 2000 , and in 2001 DW began broadcasting the television program “ German TV ”, which was initially only marketed in North America via pay-TV platforms and was broadcast as a full-service program from 2002. However, precisely because of this, not enough viewers could be won, so that the station ceased operations at the beginning of 2006. Since then, the television program DW-TV has been broadcast in North America on the former "German TV" program slot . In 2002, Deutsche Welle launched its Arabic-language TV service. It can be received in more than 20 countries via Nilesat.

On September 11, 2001, the Deutsche Hörfunk program broadcast a total of 48 hours non-stop live from 5 p.m. (CET) on the attacks on the World Trade Center .

Move to the Schürmann Building On the occasion of the station 's 50th anniversary in 2003 (the ceremony was on June 27), Deutsche Welle moved from Cologne to Bonn to the Schürmann Building in the Bundesviertel . One reason was the exposure to asbestos in the rooms of the old radio building. In the 1960s/1970s it was common practice – and also recommended by BAM – to encase high-rise buildings in steel construction with sprayed asbestos as fire protection. The originally planned demolition of the building was abandoned because of the concerns of the neighboring Deutschlandradio that the asbestos-contaminated building is now to be dismantled floor by floor.

The relocation costs were estimated at more than 15 million euros in the 2002 annual report. Only the radio programs are produced at the new location in Bonn. Deutsche Welle's television programs come from Berlin . Deutsche Welle 's online service is produced in Berlin and Bonn and offers content in 30 languages.

New DW law 2004 On October 28, 2004, the Bundestag passed a new DW law that defines Deutsche Welle as trimedia in contrast to other public service programs and thus makes the online presence a medium with equal rights alongside DW-TV and DW radio power. Since 2004, Deutsche Welle has been presenting the blog awards The BOBs through an international jury .

On October 6, 2006, journalist Karen Fischer and technician Christian Struwe were shot dead in Afghanistan.

DW-TV's transponder on Hotbird was deliberately jammed several times , most recently from February 10 to 13, 2010 on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution . According to the satellite operator Eutelsat, the jammer could be clearly located in the vicinity of Iran.

In 2006, the station employed 1,444 people. In 2011 there were around 1,500 permanent and freelance workers.


New task planning for 2011 On April 7, 2011, the German Bundestag decided on a new task planning for the station.

  • The radio, television and online divisions are to be merged by 2013.
  • The radio program is to be further reduced.
  • The content should be conveyed primarily via television and the Internet.
  • Already in the run-up there was talk of a one-hour broadcast loop that should remain.
  • Shortwave broadcasting in Europe will continue until the transmitter leases expire.

During the discussion, the Left Party, which was the only party to vote against the draft, particularly criticized the fact that the broadcaster should coordinate programming with the Foreign Office , the Defense Ministry and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation .

The German Association of Journalists complains that, especially in censored media markets, information sites on the Internet are easier to “ completely restrict ” than radio programs.

When short-wave broadcasting was discontinued at the end of October 2011, the German Cultural Council pointed out that no other frequency range had such a large range as short-wave and could “radiate from Germany into the world so autonomously”: “The Internet is not a secure alternative to short-wave either , since it can be censored, disabled and even switched off completely by intervention in the recipient countries. Especially in a time of social upheaval, not only in the Arab world, it is negligent not to use such an autonomous transmission medium as shortwave for broadcasting German-language programs.”

Relaunch 2012 On February 6, 2012, Deutsche Welle underwent a complete relaunch and since then the abbreviation DW has been more prominent in announcements than before. During the relaunch, the Spanish-language transmission route DW (Español) for Latin America was expanded from two to 20 hours a day. At the same time, the new online offer was relaunched under the domain

Battle for sovereignty of interpretation In November 2013, the new director Peter Limbourg demanded more money for a larger range of programs in English. The background is increasing global competition from foreign broadcasters, such as Iran. In the course of this geostrategic reorientation, DW canceled its Bengali and Portuguese service for Africa: Limbourg "would like to focus the program more on decision-makers in big cities in the future, i.e. elites who live in countries that are important for Germany and understand English." Limbourg: "Spreading our values ​​around the world is a national task... Or do we want to leave the interpretation of international politics to Russia Today , Al-Jazeera and CCTV-News ?" The four-language online portal for dialogue with the Arabic world should continue.

Collaboration with CCTV At the beginning of September 2014, director Peter Limbourg announced that Deutsche Welle was collaborating with the Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). Reporters Without Borders protested. In August of the same year, Deutsche Welle fired a Chinese blogger for other reasons.

The English -language news channel DW News is scheduled to start broadcasting on June 22, 2015.


distribution channels

DW broadcasts 24-hour television programs to a worldwide audience in English, German, Spanish and Arabic.

In addition to shortwave broadcasts , Deutsche Welle uses satellite broadcasts, live Internet streams and, in some countries, the local VHF band for its radio programs . According to its own statements, DW worked with 5,000 partner stations to distribute the programs locally. For parts of Africa, where, according to DW, many people can still be reached via radio, DW can still be received via shortwave. The TV program is distributed via various satellite channels and fed into cable networks and is also available as a live stream on the DW website and in the ARD media center. The DW app makes DW content available online. Since 2019, DW has been providing its website as an onion service via the Tor network in order to circumvent censorship measures by anti-democratic states.

Deutsche Welle was heavily involved in technical developments to adapt shortwave transmission to today's standards by using digital technology and to continue using this transmission path . DW preferred the technology of the Digital Radio Mondial consortium . In 2008 she started the BBC & DW project with the British BBC . However, this was soon discontinued due to lack of success on the listener side.

DW confirms reception reports with a QSL card .

On August 25, 2014, the broadcaster announced that the journalistic content would also be distributed via the Outernet satellite network .


In 2016, Deutsche Welle can be received on shortwave in Asia in Pashtun and Dari , and in Africa in Amharic , English , Hausa , French and Swahili . Since October 2014, the programs in Portuguese for Africa are no longer broadcast on shortwave, but only via satellite and partner channels. FM broadcasts in the region around the Rwandan capital , Kigali , were discontinued in March 2015 when this last DW relay station was closed.

In addition, DW's radio programs can be received via six satellites whose reception area corresponds to terrestrial reception (western Asia and Africa; same range of programmes). In addition to this there is a broadcast in Greek .


For the Asian region, DW broadcasts its DW Deutsch and DW English programs via Asiasat-7 (105.5° East) . As of 2007, Deutsche Welle Radio can be received in the Dari , Amharic , Hausa , Pashtun and Swahili languages via shortwave .

Former transmitters, radio

The broadcast of the linear German-language radio program via shortwave, as well as all other distribution channels, was discontinued on October 29, 2011.

Since the beginning of 2007, DW has been broadcasting its programs in the shortwave range from the Woofferton location in England through the provider VT Communications . Until then, the shortwave transmission system Wertachtal was used in Germany. Until the 1990s and early 2000s, Deutsche Welle also broadcast its radio programs from Germany from the large radio station in Nauen and the short- wave center in Jülich .

DW Berlin transmitter

DW has operated several relay stations throughout its history, including in Trincomalee - Sri Lanka , Kigali - Rwanda and Sines - Portugal . From the shortwave relay in Sines, among other things, 3995 kHz programs were broadcast in DRM mode . Transmitters in the LW, MW and VHF ranges were not used to broadcast Deutsche Welle programs in Germany. On the other hand, medium wave transmitters were also used at some of DW's foreign locations, such as the Cyclops relay station in Malta, which was shut down in 1996. The relay station in Antigua in the Caribbean is also no longer used because DW has discontinued shortwave broadcasts for North and South America.

In Europe, sufficient to good reception of the German-language program was possible on the shortwave frequency of 6075 kHz (49-meter band). Some African services continued to air on shortwave until 2013.

Targeted disruptions

Throughout its history, broadcasts by Deutsche Welle have repeatedly been disrupted for political reasons. During the Cold War, broadcasts for Eastern Europe were hampered by technical means. But even after that there were repeated attempts to disrupt it in individual countries.

The DW program for Ethiopia , which has existed since 1965, was repeatedly affected by jamming . In 2007, the German federal government intervened in Addis Ababa , after months of disruption to DW programming. In 2010 director Erik Bettermann again complained about the deliberate disruption of the radio program for Ethiopia. Before and during the parliamentary elections in Ethiopia around May 23, 2010, jammers were used to interfere with the shortwave frequencies of Deutsche Welle's Amharic program. According to Bettermann, the domestic media in Ethiopia are censored. Other foreign broadcasters were also disrupted in Ethiopia during this time.

In 2011, Bettermann protested to Iran against the targeted disruption of DW-TV via its satellite channel there. The Hot Bird 8 satellite , which broadcasts signals for Europe and neighboring regions, was disrupted, e.g. also Iran. Since Hot Bird 8 is also used as a player for the Nilesat satellite and the provider of the live stream via DW-WORLD.DE, there were also failures here. The radio and especially the Internet offerings of Deutsche Welle were also affected by Iran's censorship measures.

Already on December 7th and 8th, 2009, the transponder on Hotbird 8 , which is also used by DW-TV, was jammed . According to Deutsche Welle, which refers to the satellite operator Eutelsat , the jammer could be clearly localized in Iran . Eutelsat tried to enable interference-free reception by increasing the transmission power. As a result, the interference signal was also amplified. Censorship of reporting on the unrest and protests by opposition figures in Iran is suspected to be the cause of the disturbances. From February 10 to 13, 2010, ie around the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution , there were renewed disruptions.

In several other countries, too, several foreign broadcasters from the Global North, including DW, complained that broadcasts via satellite and shortwave were being disrupted and websites blocked.

censorship and prohibition

On October 28, 2021, the Deutsche Welle website was blocked in Belarus .

At the beginning of February 2022, Deutsche Welle was banned from broadcasting in Russia by the Russian Foreign Ministry; in addition, journalists' accreditations were revoked. The correspondent's office in Moscow has to be closed.


work atmosphere

Deutsche Welle and The Guardian made headlines in spring 2020 after employees contacted these newspapers and said that the working atmosphere had been characterized for years by "threats and abuse of power", by racism, bullying and the systematic suppression of criticism: "The irregularities are systemic: journalistic, political, ethical. There is no way to reform the system from within. ...The German parliament must take responsibility and conduct an investigation into what happened.”

In a letter to the Guardian, employees from various departments defended the working atmosphere: the representations were flawed, the allegations of systemic causes incorrect and unfair. "...the work environment you describe in your article bears no resemblance to the newsroom we work in today."

In an interview, Peter Limbourg pointed out that the debate had been initiated by the broadcaster itself: “It was and is clear to us that this will not end overnight. We conduct these discussions with the employees very openly.” The “zero tolerance” point of view was made clear in more than 35 discussions in the individual departments. "But we also listened to the company and where we saw grievances, we reacted very quickly." Limbourg also criticized what he believed to be the one-sided representation of the SZ and the union.

Sexual abuse and harassment were specifically mentioned in the media: A DW moderator is said to have sexually harassed two employees in Berlin in 2016 and also raped another.

Furthermore, a team leader in the sports department was noticed before his dismissal in 2018 through anti-Semitic statements and bullying . An internal complaint email from November 2017 to the then editor-in-chief Ines Pohl also made it clear, according to the TAZ, that the case had been "delayed for a year and clues were not pursued with the necessary determination".

The third point is the letter of complaint from a group of 16 employees of the Arabic editorial team, which she sent to the broadcaster's management in 2018. The reason for the letter was a man's threat to break his colleague's finger. The authors wanted to make it clear that the incident should not be viewed in isolation. They also wrote that one had "unfortunately the impression that the management culture in the Arabic editorial team is largely based on humiliation, intimidation and manipulation". The disappointment in the group was great because no improvement had been promised by the management. Furthermore, according to the 16 members of the Arabic editorial team, political divisions in the respective target countries are reflected in the same editorial team. This means that the legal requirement to convey an understanding of the cultures has been pushed into the background. After writing the letter, the writers stated that there had been no improvements and they continue to be penalized by the editorial board. A member of the staff council confirmed that at least four of these 16 people had reduced shifts, which was "a common means of pressure on freelancers" at Deutsche Welle, who make up about half of the DW workforce and up to 80 in the Arabic editorial department Percent.

The head of Verdi Media, Art and Industry described the complaints as clear and understandable and criticized the fact that internal criticism should not be submitted anonymously. She therefore proposed an independent investigation with a critical view from the outside.

sexism problem

According to the time from 2019, an expert had come to alarming results. "Beyond the attacks/harassment described, labor law requirements seem to be disregarded, and a kind of 'parallel structure' seems to have developed that works according to its own rules, bypassing the company's specifications." This account was disputed by DW.

Accusation of one-sidedness and partisanship

In April 2019, editor-in-chief Ines Pohl campaigned on Twitter for an election of German Minister Von der Leyen . She was criticized for this by Juso boss Kühnert.

In August 2019, DW rejected allegations by the Russian Foreign Ministry that DW had interfered in Russia's internal affairs by reporting on the mass protests in Moscow.

In 2018, a Turkish study criticizing the German media, including journalists from Deutsche Welle, was dismissed as unscientific and a protest was lodged with the Turkish government.

In 2008, Sabine Pamperrien from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on the repeated international criticism of reporting on China: Deutsche Welle's Chinese program acts as a multiplier of the Chinese leadership's propaganda. Uschi Eid also requested that the culture and media committee of the parliament deal with Deutsche Welle, also because of the program .

Criticism of the 2014 realignment

The parliamentary group Die Linke criticized in 2014 that since he took office, Peter Limbourg had been pushing the "conversion of the German foreign broadcaster into a news and 'breaking news' broadcaster." Offer'. He considers it a national task to take part in the global "confrontation of values". That, according to the parliamentary group Die Linke, was the language of the Cold War.

"This planned reorientation of DW is in contrast to the objectives and tasks according to § 4 DWG and softens the program principles set out in § 5 DWG. The station is to be subordinated to Germany's global interest policy. As a consequence, this leads to journalistic and editorial independence being restricted.”

anti-Semitism allegations

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in November 2021 that its own research had revealed that employees of Deutsche Welle’s Arabic editorial team had openly taken an anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli position. The broadcaster then announced that he was having the allegations checked externally. At the direction of the director, DW will immediately commission an independent external investigation.

The research shows that several employees have posted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements on the Internet in recent years and later deleted these entries.

At the beginning of December 2021, Deutsche Welle announced that it was suspending its cooperation with the Jordanian broadcaster Roya TV . The reason was the emergence of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic comments and caricatures on social media that had been distributed by the broadcaster. After research by Vice magazine had previously uncovered the collaboration with Roya TV, further research by the Lebanese broadcaster Al Jadeed TV , with which DW works closely, revealed the distribution of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel formats as well as the uncommented distribution of propaganda by the terrorist organization Hezbollah .


The ProSieben sketch show Switch parodied Deutsche Welle as Deutsche Welle Poland in 1997 and 1998 . The greeting was always: “Here is Deutsches Welle Poland. With transfer in color. And colorful.” The saying is also the saying of the Switch DVDs.

See also

  • BBC & DW – Cooperation with the BBC
  • Im Focus – broadcasting slot for documentaries and reports from Germany and around the world


  • Dieter Dörr, Stephanie Schiedermair : The Deutsche Welle. The function, the mission, the tasks and the financing today. Lang, Frankfurt am Main and others 2003, ISBN 3-631-51685-1
  • Anke Hagedorn: Deutsche Welle and politics: German foreign broadcasting 1953-2013. UVK, Constance 2016, ISBN 978-3-86764-625-3
  • Hristina Krasteva: The creators of “Germany's business card” Deutsche Welle: A qualitative study of how DW journalists see themselves. Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich 2007 ( full text )
  • Peter Niepalla: Deutsche Welle as a medium and factor in international communication. Institute for Broadcasting Economics at the University of Cologne, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-938933-26-8 ( full text )
  • Fritz Pleitgen: Cooperation between the state broadcasting corporations of ARD, ZDF and Deutsche Welle. Institute for Broadcasting Economics at the University of Cologne, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-938933-19-4 ; ( full text )
  • Dirk Klapperich: 'A thorn in my side': the East European editorial team of Deutsche Welle from the CSCE Final Act to the cooperation with Radio Moscow (1975 to 1990). m press Martin Meidenbauer, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-89975-651-7
  • Gabriele Rolfes: Deutsche Welle – a political neuter in the Weimar state? Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-631-44537-7
  • Norbert Nail: News from Cologne, London, Moscow and Prague. Investigations on the language use of German foreign broadcasts. Marburg 1981 (Marburg Studies on German Studies 1). ISBN 3-7708-0709-X
  • Norbert Breuer: "In the German trough". In: The whitewashed Sarotti-Mohr. Juwelen Verlag, Toenisvorst. ISBN 978-3-945822-80-7

web links

Commons : Deutsche Welle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


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