Increased repression from Russia: DW stands in solidarity with Radio Liberty | DW's press releases | DW | 21.02.2024
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Increased repression from Russia: DW stands in solidarity with Radio Liberty

Russia's declaration of US foreign broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) as an "undesirable organization" marks another severe blow to press freedom. DW expresses solidarity with RFE/RL.

DW Director General Peter Limbourg: "The Russian government's actions against Radio Liberty are unacceptable. As elections in Russia draw near, this signifies the next step in further restricting the already severely limited freedom of expression and press freedom in the country. We stand firmly in solidarity with all those impacted by these repressive measures. Our commitment to reaching audiences in Russia and fostering dialogue with them will only grow stronger in response."

Individuals working with "undesirable organizations" in Russia are subject to prosecution, facing heavy fines and even imprisonment. Consequently, sharing content from media organizations categorized as undesirable organizations may also constitute a criminal offense. The US Congress-funded broadcaster RFE/RL, which produces content in Russian, was previously classified as a "foreign agent". Russia classifies people, media and organizations that are financed from abroad as "foreign agents". DW has also been classified a "foreign agent" in Russia since March 2022. Prior to that, DW faced broadcasting bans, its studio in Moscow was forced into exile, and was blocked in all programming languages on the Russian internet

DW: Reaching users with censorship circumvention measures 

In countries where press freedom is restricted, DW increasingly relies on digital platforms to facilitate independent access to information for users. This requires employing measures to bypass censorship, such as using the Tor browser, accessing via VPN, or using the DW app

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, user contacts for Russian content have been on the rise, despite DW’s content being blocked. In 2023, user numbers remained stable compared to the previous year. DW Russian recorded a total of around 10 million weekly user contacts in 2023, predominantly through video content, making it one of DW's top 10 most frequently accessed services. On YouTube, which remains unblocked, Russian-language content has 2.21 million subscribers. DW provides daily news updates through the DW Novosti video program. The satirical program Zapovednik, now produced in the DW studio in Riga, is also a very successful format.  

DW is Germany’s international information provider. As an independent media company, it brings independent news and information in 32 languages all over the world so that people can make free decisions. DW’s work focuses on topics such as freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, world trade and social justice, health education and environmental protection, technology and innovation. DW’s TV, online and radio offerings reach 320 million user contacts every week.   

DW Akademie trains journalists worldwide, supports the development of independent media and promotes the spread of the German language through free learning opportunities. 

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EINSCHRÄNKUNG DW Personenfoto | Corporate Communications | Carla Hagemann

Carla Hagemann

Corporate Spokesperson and Head of Corporate Communications


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