Budapest, Hungary – German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle will start creating content in Hungarian language, its director general Peter Limbourg announced earlier this week.
Deutsche Welle moves to create Hungarian-language content
The head of state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) explained that the decision was not a political one, but a professional decision by the media’s managing staff based on the threat to media pluralism in Hungary.
Limbourg further argued that the goal was to provide fact-based information and reporting to counter disinformation often spread through government-friendly media in Hungary, and to bring topics less discussed, like minority and LGBT rights, in the spotlight.
Deutsche Welle is already working on Hungarian-language programming, and plans to launch a Hungarian-language YouTube channel by the end of March, according to recent statements. Limbourg added that DW could also strengthen its cooperation with some local media, as it did in the past with Telex or 24.hu.
The decision comes only a few days after Klubradio, the leading independent radio station in Hungary, was ordered off the air in a move critics see as politically motivated and meant to silence one of the last remaining dissenting voices in the Hungarian media landscape.
Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs, known for his frequent and bitter clashes with foreign reporters and correspondents on Twitter, didn’t appear too pleased by the news.
In a short blog post published on the official website of the Hungarian government, he wrote: “The German state broadcaster, in a little cross-border adventure, will bring us ‘real stories’. Just in time for the 2022 elections. Nothing like a little German cultural imperialism. I mean, what could go wrong?”
“Yes, that German cultural imperialism urgently needs a counterweight,” sarcastically replied Thorsten Benner, head of the Global Public Policy Institute, a Berlin-based think tank. “So how about [Viktor] Orban launching a Kossuth Radio German language service […] We’d welcome that in the spirit of media pluralism.”