New York, February 3, 2022 – In response to Russian authorities’ decision Thursday to shutter the Moscow bureau of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) and withdraw the credentials of its staff, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“Russia must stop using journalists as pieces in tit-for-tat games with Germany, and should allow employees of the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle to remain in the country and report freely,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said. “Russian authorities should reinstate DW correspondents’ accreditations, and let them cover the news unobstructed.”
In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the move was the first step of “responsive measures as a reaction to unfriendly actions” by Germany. On Wednesday, February 2, Germany’s Commission on Licensing and Supervision announced that Russian state-funded broadcaster RT did not have the necessary license to operate in Germany, and would have to cease airing its programming at once, according to news reports.
In addition to closing the DW bureau and annulling its staff members’ accreditations, Russian authorities also banned all DW satellite and other broadcasts into the country, and intend to label the broadcaster as a “foreign agent,” according to the Foreign Ministry statement.
The statement also said the authorities will compile a list of German officials “involved in limiting RT” in Germany, or who put “other types of pressure on the broadcaster,” with the aim of blocking their ability to travel to Russia.
DW Director-General Peter Limbourg called the decision “disappointing,” and said that Russian authorities “overreacted.” He said the broadcaster would take legal action to try and keep its correspondents in the country.