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Diversity of opinion is need of the hour

Today unfounded reports or fake news can easily be spread unchecked, especially through social media, writes Peter Limbourg, Director General of DW

Written by Peter Limbourg | Updated: November 25, 2019 7:06:55 am
Freedom of speech, Journalism, Freedom of speech for journalists, Indian journalism, Indian media, World media, Opinions, Indian Express According to market research, in many countries, DW is considered ‘the voice of Germany’

(Written by Peter Limbourg)

Like many journalists around the world, I believe that diversity of opinion is the lifeblood of a democracy. In the face of rising conflict and crises, unfortunately, a growing number of governments is preventing their citizens from receiving objective information about human rights.

Today unfounded reports or fake news can easily be spread unchecked, especially through social media.

In my view, propaganda and censorship are signs of weakness. My colleagues and I must stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and demand the safety of our colleagues worldwide.

I’m convinced that the independent, impartial and comprehensive information free media deliver will help people form their own opinions about the world and let them take the right decisions.

In addition to prosperity and security, many people want education, freedom and justice. It would be wonderful to see citizens of all countries be able to speak their minds freely.

The current tensions might make our job as journalists more challenging. But this is nothing to shy away from. I have a message for all despots, autocrats and dictators: You will not oppress freedom of speech forever. Freedom of speech is stronger than you.

I have promised myself to repeat and spread this message whenever and wherever I think it is necessary.

Content that is relevant to the audience

Observing international media developments closely, I strongly believe that in the end, only media that are viewed as objective and trustworthy will prevail. Therefore we must strive to engage in a dialogue with our global audiences and partners, keeping them directly involved with our content and making sure it is really relevant to our target groups.

The democratic rights to freedom of speech and expression, backed by the Constitution of India, are the prerequisite for the dynamic Indian media landscape.

With nearly 900 TV channels and hundreds of 24-hour news channels in several languages, it offers vast opportunities and challenges for journalism and of course, also for advertising. Digital media are growing at an amazing 30 per cent per year, I have been told.

In South Asia, like anywhere else, we aim to give all parts of society and all political parties equal coverage.

In fast-changing social and political times, which in many ways are linked to a rapid technological transition, people have high expectations of the media. They want news but also motivating stories and educational programs — high-quality ‘infotainment’ formats that are easy to understand yet carry a serious message.

In South Asia, the majority of users have access to digital media which broadcasters use as a direct link to them. Co-productions with our international partners have become one major success factor. Another is discussing innovative journalism concepts on an international level, for example at media events like DW’s Global Media Forum.

Every year, more than 2,000 international experts gather in Bonn, Germany to discuss the latest socio-political issues and how they relate to the media.

DW – the voice of Germany

For more than six decades, DW has been delivering a comprehensive image of Western Europe. We are a news organization that today operates in 30 languages across all platforms, from radio to TV to websites, apps and social media. Despite being funded by taxpayers, DW is working with full journalistic independence. What we offer is journalism, not PR.

According to market research, in many countries we are considered ‘the voice of Germany,’ a description that we have gladly and proudly accepted as one part of our mission.

Peter Limbourg is a German broadcast journalist and has been Director General of DW since 2013. He was re-elected for a second six-year term in 2018. Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international broadcaster.

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