Barbara Massing at the alliance "Medien für Vielfalt": Meetings open the door for Inclusion | Diversity at DW | DW | 03.05.2024
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Barbara Massing at the alliance "Medien für Vielfalt": Meetings open the door for Inclusion

At an event organised by the alliance ""Medien für Vielfalt" (Media for Diversity) in Berlin at the end of April, experts and representatives from various media companies discussed the topic of "'Focus on Inclusion".

Thema Inklusion beim Bündnis Medien für Vielfalt | DW-Verwaltungsdirektorin Barbara Massing

DW Managing Director Barbara Massing (second from right) talks with other panelists and experts about the relevance of inclusion for media companies

What responsibilities do media companies have in achieving more visibility for people with disabilities? And how about in improving access to the labour market for people with disabilities? These questions were the focus of the latest event by the alliance “Medien für Vielfalt (‘Media for Diversity’)”. Experts and managers from various media companies met in Berlin to discuss under the motto "Inclusion in Focus". 

"DW has been a member from the very beginning and understands inclusion and participation not only as its journalistic mission, but also as part of its organizational culture," explains Zahra Nedjabat, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at DW. Founded in 2020, the alliance has set itself the task of strengthening diversity both within the media providers and in making diversity visible through their content. 

The event offered insights into the work of people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera (and microphone). Those affected directly, employees, and managers from media companies all reported on their perspectives. A common theme arose inclusion must be brought into focus - both "on screen" and in HR departments.  


The inclusion of people with disabilities in German media companies 

Barbara Massing discussed the status quo of inclusion from the perspective of the media institutions with the program and administrative directors of ZDF, SKY, ProSiebenSat1, Bavaria Fiction and Deutschlandradio. The panellists agreed that the focus should not be on the deficits of people with disabilities, but on their strengths and resources. According to Barbara Massing, it is necessary to create more meetings between people with and without disabilities to break down fears of contact and to understand one another better. The Dialogue in the Dark exhibition, which will also take place at DW's Bonn office in December, is intended to give our colleagues at DW a change of perspective and get conversations going. 

DW stands for freedom, human rights, democracy, the rule of law, technology, and innovation. This mission also involves the inclusion of people with disabilities, so that everyone can participate in our news. Barbara Massing explains: "In line with our mission, we make our journalistic content accessible." The 2023-25 accessibility action plan for DW's program offerings focuses on subtitling the entire journalistic audiovisual program offering and expanding the accessibility of our online offerings. 


Inclusion is a focus for Government 

Cornelia Holsten, Director of the Bremen State Media Authority, called on her colleagues to consciously learn about inclusion and to educate their users. Holston explains: "A person who can actively use media can also participate in our society." Jürgen Dusel, the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to People with Disabilities, emphasized Article 3 of the German Basic Law even more clearly: "Democracy is inclusion, is diversity, is citizen participation, is a fundamental legal right." Voices claiming the opposite are not compatible with democratic values and the right to participation, which has been enshrined in the text of the law since 1994. 


Is the working world really that inclusive? 

Thema Inklusion beim Bündnis Medien für Vielfalt | Johannes Grasser, Sportler und Filmemacher

Johannes Grasser, sportsman and filmmaker

The sportsman and filmmaker Johannes Grasser holds three degrees and applied for more than 900 jobs after the end of his academic career - without success. Grasser has since founded his own company and is an impressive example of how creative and innovative people with disabilities are to find their place in our society. Grasser is a top athlete, project manager, marketing expert and filmmaker - much of which he has had to acquire due to his conditions, which are different from those of the majority society. With his impressive projects, he wants to "get out of the handicap pigeonhole, because I'm not disabled, I'm only disabled for others," says Grasser. 

EINSCHRÄNKUNG DW Personenfoto | Corporate Communications | Carla Hagemann

Carla Hagemann

Corporate Spokesperson and Head of Corporate Communications


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