DW resonds to BHC and Bulgarian journos letter of protest

DW decision to stop publishing two of its Bulgarian authors – Emi Baruh and Ivan Bedrov, has caused huge uproar amongst Bulgarian journalists, and an open letter initiated by Bulgarian Helsinski Committee followed.Earlier this morning, DW sent an official open response to the critics of BHC and Bulgarian journos, saying

Dear Sir or Madame,

Thank you very much for your interest and critical observations of the reporting by the Bulgarian department of Deutsche Welle.

We understand your dedication to the two journalists Emmy Baruh and Ivan Bedrov. Both journalists have worked for many years in Bulgarian media and enjoy a good reputation in the country. We certainly recognize their commitment to critically addressing the democratic deficits in Bulgarian society and pointing out grievances.

The critical journalistic coverage of political developments in Bulgaria belongs among the core duties of Germany’s international broadcaster. Perhaps given this context, the two authors misinterpreted the role of the DW. However, the Deutsche Welle is obliged – on the basis of its legal mandate and its self-understanding – to maintain objectivity, neutrality and balance. In all reporting, the principle applies that in the sum of publications all parties must have an equal say. Allegations in opinion pieces must be based on verifiable facts.

That is, however, in the case of the pieces by the above mentioned freelancers unfortunately not always the case. Hence they did not comply with the journalistic standards of the DW. These standards are defined in the Journalist Handbook, which every journalist at the DW knows. It is solely and exclusively for this reason that the DW has decided until further notice not to continue the working relationship with Ms. Baruh and Mr. Bedrov. We will gladly speak with Ms. Baruh and Mr. Bedrov about our journalistic standards and work with the DW, should the two of them request so.

We would like to stress again, that this decision has been made completely independent of the letter from the CCB.

As a German international broadcaster, the DW is not a partisan player in the Bulgarian media landscape – which we in Germany, moreover, perceive to be extremely polarized. Our goal is for the people of Bulgaria to form an opinion based on our mediated comprehensive and objective information.

These principles have apparently not always been communicated clearly enough by the Bulgarian department to the freelancers. For this the editorial department head Alexander Andreev takes full responsibility. Currently we are working with him to establish a number of quality assurance measures. This is intended to ensure that our journalistic standards are upheld at all times.

Be assured that the Deutsche Welle will continue to report comprehensively and critically about the political developments in Bulgaria.

We hope to have helped you with this information. We would appreciate it if you would continue to follow critically our journalistic coverage in the future.

Regards

Christian Gramsch, Program Director

Verica Spasovska, Head of middle southeast Europe

Alexander Andreev, Head of editorial department Bulgarian

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