German broadcaster DW launches inquiry into Arabic service over 'anti-Semitism' allegations
German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) announced on Friday that it has launched an "independent investigation" into allegations of anti-semitism made against some employees in its Arabic service.
The investigation was launched after an article by a Munich-based newspaper found social media posts by employees working in DW's Arabic service which contained allegedly anti-Semitic statements.
The investigation will be conducted by former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Ahmad Mansour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel.
Some of the posts cited in the article included a tweet made in 2014 in which an employee said that "collaborators" with Israel are "traitor[s] and must be executed". The same employee joined DW five years later, in 2019.
Other posts included holocaust denial, and allegedly conspiracy theories relating to Jews controlling media and culture.
Following the article, DW suspended at least four employees and one freelancer while the investigation is underway.
The New Arab contacted two of the suspended employees but they declined to comment until the investigation was completed.
In a statement, DW director General Peter Limbourg said that employees must adhere to its principles both "internally and externally". Limbourg added that "these principles include DW's clear commitment to Israel's right to exist and a clear stance against antisemitism. This also applies to private profiles on social media".
On Sunday DW went further and cut ties with Roya, a Jordanian broadcaster, over what it called "disgusting" anti-Semitic content on the channel.
Roya denied the allegations, saying fighting "racism in all its forms, including anti-Semitism, is a core value" of the broadcaster.
It also said that media organisations should "differentiate in clear terms between criticism of illegal, inhuman or racist actions by Israel as a state, and anti-Semitism, which means racism against Jews".
The New Arab contacted DW's corporate spokesman and asked how it will distinguish between private political opinions held by its Arabic service employees and allegations of anti-Semitism. The spokesperson said the matter would be left to the investigating committee, and declined to comment further.
DW is owned by the German government and is funded by German taxpayers. Arabic is one of the eight core languages that the channel publishes and broadcasts in.