In a closed session of the Bundestag's Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs on Jan. 25, agenda item 2 was the implementation of the action plan DW had developed in response to the allegations of antisemitism.
Director General Peter Limbourg, members of the management team and employees from the editorial department explained in detail the personnel and organizational consequences and the measures taken to improve work processes.
Director General Peter Limbourg: "In the past year, we have taken a very close look at our values. We stand for freedom; we stand for democracy; we stand for human rights. We stand up for freedom of expression and freedom of the press. These values are not negotiable. We live by them internally and communicate them worldwide in our reporting."
In late 2021, DW management immediately responded to media reports on the allegations, appointing an independent commission led by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (Antisemitism Commissioner of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia) and Ahmed Mansour (psychologist and author), and initiating extensive internal assessments across several units.
In early February 2022, DW presented the investigation report to its committees and to the media. The results showed no "structural antisemitism" at DW, but rather unacceptable positions taken by some employees and distributors as well as isolated errors in journalistic reporting.
As part of a multiphase action plan, DW sharpened its Code of Conduct, which applies to all employees. It expressly emphasizes the rejection of all forms of discrimination such as racism, extremism and antisemitism, as well as abuse of power, and underscores the company's commitment to Israel's right to exist. DW has the right to prosecute violations under labor law and, in exceptional cases, to immediately terminate the employment contract.
A DW Declaration of Values has been created to apply to business relationships. It was sent to all DW partners and is a binding component of all new contracts. It provides the basis for discussions and possible consequences in the event of violations of the values the declaration outlines.
A concept for values-based recruiting ensures that in the future, permanent and freelance employees will express and commit themselves to the goals and values of Germany’s international broadcaster during the selection process.
In the interests of proactively minimizing risk, the position of a Brand Integrity Officer was created, as well as an expert team for "Antisemitism, Jewish Life, Israel and the Palestinian Territories" to ensure the quality of journalistic offerings.
The Brand Integrity Officer reviews and assesses potential risks in business relationships (Third Party Risk Management). The guidelines for reporting on Israel and the Palestinian territories were revised and expanded.
DW has set up extensive training programs to accompany the aforementioned measures. Mandatory antisemitism awareness training is conducted in cooperation with the Anne Frank Educational Center.
Following allegations of antisemitism against some DW employees and distributors, the general management developed a comprehensive action plan and presented the status of implementation to the Broadcasting Council today.
In a special meeting of the governing bodies of DW and subsequent press conference, an independent commission of experts today presented the results of its two-month investigation into allegations of antisemitism.