International

Cases of abuse at Deutsche Welle

Cases of abuse at Deutsche Welle

"I didn't know anybody in Berlin, was broke. I thought to myself: "What could happen?"

This was the title of the weekly "Die ZEIT" on August 1, 2019, which dealt with cases of (sexual) abuse and rape at Deutsche Welle. Meanwhile, a case against a former moderator is pending at the Berlin public prosecutor's office.
According to "ZEIT", despite the accusations and in the presence of DW managers, a farewell party was organized for the presenter. The "ZEIT" also mentions a letter from employees of the Arab editorial staff to the intendant. They complain of humiliation, intimidation and other grievances.

In a public statement, DW merely denies that there had been an expert opinion on suspected cases, as claimed in the article. In addition, DW points out that the management initiated an internal campaign in connection with #metoo in May 2018. It would also be a part of the corporate culture that "the use of constructive criticism or comprehensible allegations does not lead to discrimination". The statement does not specify what is and is not constructive criticism, nor who decides on it.

Staff councils could play an important role here - but according to the Federal Personnel Representation Act they are not responsible at all for the majority of employees, namely the "freelancers"! No wonder that many employees ask themselves how the desired improvement of corporate culture should be put into practice when criticism might lead to disadvantages, e.g. with regard to scope and type of employment.

Last year, WDR became aware of similar cases of abuse. After all, an external expert opinion was prepared there and an apology by the management followed in view of the mistakes.