Posts tagged ‘communication’

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

German Television Interview with Deutsche Welle director: Aha, the Russians do Propaganda

After facing many inconvenient questions about the editorial independence of his multimedia broadcaster during the past months, from the media, from politics, and from Reporters without Borders, Deutsche Welle (DW) director Peter Limbourg got airtime this month with much nicer questions. On November 16, Berlin Direkt, a primetime political magazine on Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), one of Germany’s two national – domestic – television channels, interviewed Limbourg.

Q:   Russia currently upgrades its foreign television, and other [media] – internet, radio – incredibly, and also invests a lot of money into these. Is the restructuring of Deutsche Welle an answer to that offensive?
A:   I think that it [DW restructuring] has to do with that, because we simply noticed that very many broadcasters, internationally, spend a lot of money for their purposes, and that we obviously have to see to it that the German perspective and German values for which we stand, i. e. democracy, freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, that these are heard in the world. Therefore we have, of course to enter this competition to a degree, even if that is quite expensive.
Q:   And even if this will immediately lead to the accusation that aha, the Russians do propaganda, but Deutsche Welle spends more money, too, so Deutsche Welle, too, does propaganda?
A:   No, I think that in our place, that’s nothing to do with propaganda or counter-propaganda, but we want to score with enlightenment, and this means that we won’t explicitly try to work against someone, but we work for our values, and I think that it explains itself, that  when you stand for democracy, freedom of the press, and pluralism, that precisely therefore, we have nothing to do with propaganda, but on the contrary: we try to represent plurality of opinion. That means, too, of course, that we listen to other opinions such as opinions of the Russians, and work with these.
Q:  How is Deutsche Welle positioned in Russia, and how are you received there?
A:  We have a correspondent bureau in Russia and we have, of course, a very strong and, during the past months, yet strengthened, Russian and Ukrainian service which are in very, very high demand. The numbers of users have tripled or quadrupled. But we wouldn’t be able to launch a broadcaster in Russian in Russia; you don’t get a licence from the government for that.

I didn’t watch Berlin Direkt on television. On the ZDF internet pages, you can access both the interview and a report that provides some background information about Deutsche Welle’s Russian competitors – ZDF certainly portray Russia Today television, Radio Sputnik, and Russia’s umbrella organization for foreign media, Rossiya Segodnya, as competitors for Deutsche Welle. The Berlin Direkt report starts right from the first minute here, and there may not be a great deal of information about Russia’s foreign propaganda around at German television. “Recently, German is spoken, too”, the ZDF anchor suggests in his lead-in.

In fact, the first program by Radio Moscow that ever targeted a foreign audience was in German. That was in 1929. The German programs continued through the years of the 2nd World War, and when Radio Moscow was reorganized as the “Voice of Russia” in December 1993, the German-language tradition – many hours a day, seven days a week – continued. It still does.

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Update/Related

Putin’s side of the story, …

… in an interview with the other main German tv channel, ARD, Nov 17.

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Main tag: Deutsche Welle

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shortwave Newbie: Parents Dead, next Generation

“The next generation of shortwave broadcasting has begun, broadcasting news, culture, and perspective 24 hours a day, on 9395 kHz.”

Thus speaks Global 24 Radio, a commercial station using a transmitter at the WRMI shortwave farm in Okeechobee, Florida. I listened to Global-24 from 03:00 to 04:16 UTC this morning. Part of the program were Feature Story News (news on the hour at 03:00), Radio France International (RFI) news (news on the hour at 04:00), and a Jazz program around the newscasts.

Glenn Hauser‘s audiomagazine World of Radio has been invited to be part of a Radio Night program on Global-24, according to WoR’s October 30 edition (WOR 1745, 27th minute), and that would be on Tuesday nights. My own first impression is that Global-24 aggregates newscasts from different stations or services (the a/m Feature Story News appear to provide quite a number of smaller radio stations with ready-to-use newscasts, but there are also big networks among their customers, according to their reference list). There are other outsourced feature programs on Global-24, too, but according to WoR, they also have a mailbag show, i. e. a program produced by Global-24 itself. Hauser, himself reportedly an agnostic, was told by the broadcaster’s general manager that there would be not .. any  religious programming on schedule.

As for the chances that the new station will be with us for many years to come, Kai Ludwig of Radio Berlin-Brandenburg‘s media magazine didn’t voice an opinion of his own in a report of October 23, some nine days before Global 24 Radio went on the air, but quoted skeptics (without naming them):

The announcement has been met with skepticism on various occasions, as even in the past, when shortwave was much more significant than nowadays, a number of projects of this kind failed economically. This starts with the broadcasting facility of Radio Miami International. [The facilities] date back to former Radio New York Worldwide. The broadcasting equipment was sold to Family Radio after [Radio New York WW’s] closure in 1974.

Der Ankündigung wird verschiedentlich mit Skepsis begegnet, nachdem auch in der Vergangenheit, als der Verbreitungsweg Kurzwelle noch eine ungleich größere Bedeutung als heute hatte, eine Anzahl solcher Projekte wirtschaftlich scheiterte. Dies beginnt schon bei der heutigen Sendeanlage von Radio Miami International. Sie geht auf das einstige Radio New York Worldwide zurück, nach dessen Schließung die Sendetechnik 1974 an Family Radio verkauft wurde.

Family Radio (aka WYFR) themselves haven’t closed down completely, but they sold their transmission site in Okeechobee to WRMI in December 2013. That’s where Global-24’s programs are now aired from, too.

Popular on shortwave, especially in Japan, but no great economic success: KYOI, a hit radio broadcaster from Saipan,  1986 QSL

Popular on shortwave, especially in Japan, but no great economic success: KYOI, a hit radio broadcaster from Saipan, 1986 QSL

More unsuccessful cases in the past would be WRNO and Super Rock KYOI, writes Ludwig,

who broadcasted from New Orleans and Saipan respectively, on shortwave, from 1982. KYOI was sold to the religious community Christian Science after a few years, who used the facilities for their spoken word programs, and then eventually sold them to the International Broadcasting Bureau, in 1998.

Weitere Fälle sind WRNO Worldwide und Superrock KYOI, die ab 1982 von New Orleans bzw. Saipan aus Musikprogramme auf Kurzwelle sendeten. KYOI wurde nach wenigen Jahren an die Religionsgemeinschaft Christian Science verkauft, die ab 1989 die Sendeanlage für ihre Wortprogramme nutzte und sie schließlich 1998 an das International Broadcasting Bureau veräußerte.

WRNO too had switched to spoken word programs in the early 1990s, writes Ludwig, and was sold to a missionary society after the turn of the century.

WRNO had been founded by Joseph Costello (Joe Costello III), born in or around 1941 in Algiers/New Orleans, Louisiana, who appears to have been very successful as a media entrepreneur in general, if this  (source unverified) 1997 obituary in the Times Picayune is something to go by. But he wasn’t terribly successful with WRNO shortwave in particular. In November 1991, he told then Radio Netherlands Media Network‘s Jonathan Marks that

The commercial viability for shortwave radio is just not there. In our country, advertising is sold on the rating-point system, and millions and millons of dollars in every city in the country are based on who has the share of the audience. They do a small sample of six-hundred to a thousand people and then project that out to represent a whole city or a whole metropolitan area, and then millions of dollars are placed on how you score in that sample. And to approach a buyer in New York or in any major advertising capital in the United States is … first off, they don’t understand it. At this point, Jonathan, it is not as economically viable as I thought it might be on the end of its first decade.

Maybe the rating-point system has changed since, or isn’t a problem now. Or, maybe, Global-24 is based on a different business model. While shortwave may have declined in significance, the station is able to reach out to listeners both by shortwave and the internet, and is indeed using either medium. And, of course, leasing airtime from an existing broadcaster may not be as cost-intensive as building your own transmission site. At times, a transmission roomer may have to pay for the full costs, plus a profit margin. At times, maybe, a contribution margin will make the landlord sufficiently happy.

Costello, for one, had seemed to approach his shortwave adventure with a mixture of business sense and hobby, in the early 1980s. There was no standby transmitter, he told Marks, and the only existing one, water-cooled, was at times affected by the water taken from the Mississippi.

All the same, the station received between 1,000 and 1,500 letters a month, according to Costello. What defines the difference between failure and success for Global 24 Radio remains to be seen. For sure, the audience reach of shortwave broadcasters can be measured, if people care enough.

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Related

» Shortwave Log, WRNO, Aug 31, 2014
» The KYOI story, Calvin Melen, 2002, 2011

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Deutsche Welle and the Dissidents: Skeletons in the Cupboard

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Market Segmentation in International Media Coverage / 国际媒体报道中有国际市场细分

Coverage concerning DW’s China department follows some kind of market segmentation: there is news for Germans, there’s news fort he international community, and there’s news for Chinese people. The news sources aren’t identical either.

就关于德国之声中文部有媒体报道来说有一种市场细分:有消息是给德国人的,有消息是给国际社会的,有消息是给中国人的。发布消息的来源也不一样。

For example, the Zhang Danhong incident was covered by Chinese and by German media.

比如说,张丹红事件是中国媒体报道的,又是德国媒体报道的。

The events of 2010 and 2011 – the sackings of Wang Fengbo, Zhu Hong, Li Qi und Wang Xueding – were covered by the Chinese media, but hardly by German media. Although I followed the DW story rather closely back then, I only learned about a reliable report which basically confirmed the open letter of the four when I had contacted Wang Fengbo. It was a report by a church-owned press agency, Evangelischer Pressedienst or EPD. This rather comprehensive report wasn’t online, but available from a database, accessible for all interested media, according to former DW editor Li Qi’s “China Nightmare of Deutsche Welle” (published in 2012).

2010 及2011的过程 — 王凤波,朱虹,李琦,及王雪 被停职的时候 — 是中国媒体报道的,但是德国媒体所报道的有关消息很少。虽然我当时比较关注德国之声的故事,但我跟王凤波联络之后才知道有一个可靠的,基本上确定王凤波和他三个被开除的同事在他们 公开信 所描述情况的报道。那个报道是德国福音教会的通讯社,Evangelischer Pressedienst (EPD)。他们的比较全面性的报道不在线的,但是据德国之声被停职编辑员李琦2012所出版的《德国之声的中国梦魇》,德国所有感兴趣的媒体会入口EPD的资料库。看来没有德国媒体感兴趣。

The current case of Su Yutong is covered by German, international, and Chinese media.

现在展现的苏雨桐事件是在德国报道的,又是在国际媒体报道的,又是在中国媒体报道的。

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Deutsche Welle QSL card confirming reception of Kigali relay station, on September 6, 2014, at 04:00 UTC.

If you think that JR and Deutsche Welle don’t communicate with each other, you are wrong: DW QSL card

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Zhang Danhong coverage (2008) / 关于张丹红的报道

One could summarize that Zhang Danhong’s case in 2008 got some attention from German and from Chinese media. Of course, German and Chinese mainstream media looked at things differently. In Germany, there were rather many allegations of Zhang Danhong’s „communist leanings“. Most of these reports didn’t express their own views but quoted activists, politicians, etc.. Purportedly, these media had no opinion of their own. This rather subtle approach is also becoming more widely spread in Chinese media.

总的来讲,2008年的张丹红事件在德国,中国的媒体都有所反映。当然,德国主流媒体和中国主流媒体的看法和说明完全不一样。在德国,ZDH 的 „亲共“ 的指控比较多。这些媒体的报道中,大多数不表示自己的看法,但是引述积极分子,政治家,等等的说法。据称,这些媒体报道就没有自己的看法。这个微妙的做法在中国的媒体也越来越多。

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What can be compared, and what can’t (2014) ? / 什么事情可不可以比较?

DW director Peter Limbourg said in a German television broadcast last week that Su Yutong’s exit had been a single case. And Su Yutong said in an interview with Boxun that her exit could not be compared with the case of Zhang Danhong.

在上个星期播送的一个德国电视台的节目中,德国之声台长彼得•林堡说苏雨桐被离职是单一的事情。但是苏雨桐受博讯访问时说,她自己和张丹红的事件这根本没有可比性

Limbourg is wrong: Su Yutong’s exit is no single case. It can be compared with the end of Wang Fengbo’s, Zhu Hong’s, Li Qi’s, and Wang Xueding’s employment.

但是林堡说的部队。苏雨桐被离职不是单一的事情。跟王凤波,朱虹,李琦,及王雪在2010,2011年被停职的情况可以比较。

And Su Yutong, Boxun, and DW, are all silent about those four cases from 2010 and 2011.

此外,苏雨桐,博讯,其他异议人士等等和DW有一个共同的特点:虽然他们的政治观点看来不一样,他们似乎都不愿意谈到2010/2011年在德国之声被停职的编辑员。

This has become DW’s and the dissidents’ common credibility gap.

现在,这个共同的特点是德国之声及异议人士共同的信誉差距。

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Main related tag:

» Deutsche Welle

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Related

» Be more Xinhua, Oct 10, 2009

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Deutsche Welle director: Su Yutong “a single case”

German television broadcast a six-minute report on recent events at German foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on Wednesday last week.

Su Yutong, a blogger and freelancer who was removed from DW’s Chinese department on August 19, was in the German news on Wednesday – in a broadcast on one of Germany’s main two television channels, a media background magazine that starts about fourty minutes before midnight German local time. Asked by Channel 1 (ARD / Das Erste) reporters why Su had been fired, Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg said that

This was a single case when we had to had to disassociate with a freelancer who, unfortunately, became active against Deutsche Welle several times and who, to put it carefully, depicted staff and colleagues and managers at Deutsche Welle publicly in a, let’s put it cautiously, dishonarable*) way. That, I think, we can’t afford, just as no company worldwide can afford, and therefore, we drew the consequence in a single case.

Das war ein Einzelfall, wo wir uns von einer freien Mitarbeiterin trennen mussten, die leider mehrfach gegen die Deutsche Welle aktiv wurde und Mitarbeiter und Kollegen und Führungskräfte der Deutschen Welle öffentlich, sagen wir es mal vorsichtig, ehrverletzend dargestellt hat. Das können wir uns, glaube ich, wie kein anderes Unternehmen auf der Welt, eben auch nicht leisten, und insofern haben wir da im Einzelfall die Konsequenz gezogen.

Interestingly, Limbourg did not say that Su had revealed internal information – or ARD didn’t quote him with that during the six-minutes report.

Peter von Hein, former head of the Chinese department (after a return to this position in 2012, he has now once again been removed) had been critical of Deutsche Welle’s new China policy, too. Different from Su Yutong, however, he had voiced his reservations within the organisation, says the report.

Limbourg was asked critical questions about DW’s planned cooperation with China’s state television broadcaster CCTV, and it was also reported that Meinhard-Jörg Rudolph, referred to as a former “program observer” at DW, had to leave one month after Limbourg had taken office. Also asked his opinion, he warned that DW was becoming dependent on China.

There was no mention of the four editors sacked in 2010 and 2011, and no mention of the legal technicalities used to sack either them or Su Yutong.

That, apparently, would cut too closely to the arteries of industrial relations within German media.

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Note

*) There seem to be many translations on offer for the German word ehrverletzend, and neither may fit exactly judicially, in a foreign language. Literally, dishonerable seems to come closest.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Military Training in the Garden of Growing Imams

Main link: Xinjiang Islamic Institute conducts its First Military Training

China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest newsagency, published nine photos on Monday, of a military drill at Xinjiang Islamic Institute in Urumqi (Ürümqi), East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang).

Each of the nine photos comes with the same note which reads:

According to PLA Daily‘s microblog on September 15, Xinjiang Islamic Institute invited the political department of Xinjiang Military Region to carry out military training of 80 students who enrolled at the Institute this year. The military region [department] specifically chose eight military-political officers and soldiers of excellent quality [toughness] who speak both Uighur and Chinese. During the ten days of military training, the students learn basic military subjects, take part in defense lectures, and watch ethnic-unity propaganda movies.

据军报记者微博9月15日报道,新疆伊斯兰教经学院邀请新疆军区政治部为 该院今年招收的80名新学员进行军训。军区专门从某红军师抽选了8名维语、汉语兼通、军政素质过硬的官兵担任教官。为期10天的军训中,学员们学习基本军 事课目,参加国防知识讲座、观看民族团结宣传片。

Click the following links for the photos.

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Beijing review, an English-language propaganda paper, referred to the Islamic Institute as a garden of young imams in a 2009 online article.

And in 2008, China Radio International‘s (CRI) German service quoted the Institute’s deputy director as follows:

“My home was very far from the Uighur school. Up to high school, I visited a school of the Han nationality. When I didn’t pass the entrance exam for university, I was very sad. My parents comforted me and said that university wasn’t the only way of further education. We are Muslims, they said. Therefore, you should be in the know about Islam. You should look into your religion and study Islam.”

“Mein Zuhause lag sehr weit von der uigurischen Schule entfernt. Ich besuchte bis zur Oberschule die Schule der Han-Nationalität. Als ich dann später die Aufnahmeprüfung für die Universität nicht bestanden hatte, war ich sehr traurig. Meine Eltern trösteten mich und erklärten mir, dass die Universität nicht die einzige mögliche weitere Ausbildung war. Wir sind Muslime, sagten sie. Daher sollst Du gut über den Islam Bescheid wissen. Du solltest dich also intensiver mit Deiner Religion auseinandersetzen und den Islam studieren.”

The PLA photo story is carried by a number of Chinese websites, including Xinhua newsagency online, CCTV, and, – no surprise – Huanqiu Shibao.

And nothing satisfies a true Chinese patriot, at least not according to the latest comment (from Shenzhen):

Our country puts too much emphasis on the culture of different nationalities and neglects unified cultural education, particularly the education in Chinese culture for national minorities. It seems that there are many races among Americans, but it is the same English language and the same writing form for everyone. Put Chinese ideological and cultural education first, and [put regional ethnic culture [second] as a supplement.

我国太重视各民族文化而忽视了统一文化的教育,尤其是对少数民族的中华文化教育。似乎美国人种族很多,但都是英语,一样的字体。大中华思想文化教育为先,地方民族文化为辅。

But the previous commenter, from Zhejiang Province, dislikes the military component of “education”:

These Muslim students should rather study Chinese language [hanyu] and Confucian thought. To teach military subjects among institute students who aren’t yet mature isn’t quite appropriate. Not even ten percent of Uighur students in Xinjiang speak Chinese, and among the Islamic students from southern Xinjiang, even fewer speak Chinese. The state must vigorously expand Chinese-language and Chinese cultural education among national minorities, to make them recognize that their identity and ideology is Chinese.

这些伊斯兰教的学生更应该学习汉语和中国儒家思想,军训这样带有军事化的东西在一些思想不成熟的宗教学生中开展不是十分妥当。新疆的维族学生中会说汉语的学生不倒百分之十,尤其这些伊斯兰教的学生主要来自南疆地区,会说汉语的为更是稀少。国家应当大力开展对少数民族学生的汉语和中华文化教育,让他们认同他们是中国人的身份和思想。

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Related

» Religion and Peace, People’s Daily, Sep 17, 2014
» Come sigh with us, Aug 17, 2014
» Kunming Attack, March 3, 2014
» Golden vase of unity, Dec 26, 2010

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Deutsche Welle Task Plan: “Germany must not fall behind”

According to a press release on Wednesday, Deutsche Welle (DW) director Peter Limbourg handed the broadcasting station’s task plan to Norbert Lammert, president of German federal parliament or Bundestag, on Tuesday. The plan (Aufgabenplanung 2014 – 2017) is both a to-do-list and project description, and a request to parliament to fund the projects it contains. On the DW photo, Limbourg manages to look like Lammert’s rich and benevolent uncle with lots to offer.  The photo was shot by Jan Röhl, a freelance photographer in Berlin, who has made photos for DW every now and then and whose website says that every theme should be photographed in a way that makes the beholder wish to experience the displayed situation or to buy the product (das jeweilige Motiv sollte so fotografiert werden, dass der Betrachter den Wunsch verspürt, die dargestellte Situation zu erleben, das Produkt zu erwerben).

“We want to face up to international competition better. To do that, DW has initiated an ambitious course of reorientation”, the director said during the presentation of DW’s strategy for the coming four years. “The interest among global decision makers and opinion formers in our country continues growing. Especially during international crisis and conflicts, the German positions are sought for. Germany’s medial voice in the world communicates it – multi-medial and in thirty languages.”

„Wir wollen uns dem internationalen Wettbewerb besser stellen. Dazu hat die DW einen ambitionierten Kurs der Neuausrichtung eingeleitet“, sagte der Intendant bei der Überreichung der DW-Strategie für die kommenden vier Jahre. „Das Interesse der globalen Entscheider und Meinungsbildner an unserem Land wächst weiter. Gerade in internationalen Krisen und Konflikten sind die deutschen Positionen gefragt. Deutschlands mediale Stimme in der Welt vermittelt sie – multimedial und in 30 Sprachen.“

To the Bundestag president, Limbourg pointed out the enormous efforts made by other states as they strengthened  their global soft power. Russia, for example was advancing the launch of its foreign television program Russia Today’s German program. China, too, was strengthening its medial foreign representation. With this task plan, “we want to convince German politics that Germany must not fall behind in this field”, the director said.

Gegenüber dem Bundestagspräsidenten wies Limbourg auf die enormen Anstrengungen hin, die andere Staaten zur Stärkung ihrer Soft-power in der Welt unternehmen. So treibe Russland den Start eines deutschsprachigen Programms seines Auslandsfernsehens Russia Today voran. Auch China baue seine mediale Außenrepräsentanz aus. Mit der jetzt vorgelegten Aufgabenplanung „wollen wir die deutsche Politik überzeugen, dass Deutschland hier nicht ins Hintertreffen geraten darf“, so der Intendant.

Bundestag President Lammert said: “During these times of current crises, Deutsche Welle fulfills the growingly important task to inform impartially and to explain things. The German program of Deutsche Welle should continue to play an important role.

Bundestagspräsident Norbert Lammert sagte: „Gerade in diesen Zeiten aktueller Krisen erfüllt die Deutsche Welle die immer wichtiger werdende Aufgabe, objektiv zu informieren und aufzuklären. Dabei sollte das deutsche Programm der Deutschen Welle weiterhin eine wichtige Rolle spielen.“

The German program should continue to play an important role. Hear, hear.

Either way, the press release points out that English is meant to become the “flagship” (of DW content, apparently). The focus on English isn’t new, nor is the stated requirement that all content would be planned consistently multi-medially, and interlocked with each other. Interaction with global decisionmakers (“globale Entscheider”) and participants in the formation of political opinion (“Teilnehmer an der politischen Meinungsbildung”), not least by means of “social media” is also emphasized.

Parliament President Lammert should be careful what he wishes for. If German programs should indeed continue to play an important role at DW, chances are that the German language will be savaged by dead sheep. The Germish used in the press release sounds like a washing powder commercial – only less succinct.

Persil washes whiter.

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Related

If Congress will pay, July 5, 2012
Trying to Pigeonhole, Feb 19, 2012
Opinion Leaders, May 20, 2011

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Deutsche Welle enters “Dialog” with Chinese Media, Yu Jie boycotts Broadcaster

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reports the dismissal of Deutsche Welle Chinese department editor Su Yutong in a Press Freedom in China Campaign Bulletin for the month of September (see item no. 7 there). Su denies that DW managers had issued a warning or claimed that she had violated any internal rules.

Also according to IFJ, DW’s Director General Peter Limbourg visited Wang Gengnian, Director of China Central Television International Channel, on August 28 [or August 27, local time]. Wang Gengnian is, in fact, director of China Radio International (CRI), rather than of CCTV.

A broad majority within Deutsche Welle broadcasting commission (Rundfunkrat) supports director Limbourg’s reform process, DW spokesman Johannes Hoffmann wrote in a press release in German, on Monday. Limbourg had reported to the commission on Friday, concerning initial measures to implement DW’s Aufgabenplanung (task plan). Aufgabenplanung is described by this commenter (January 2012) as the paper that requests DW’s budget from German federal parliament. The commission had, in particular, welcomed Limbourg’s talks with Chinese broadcasters about possible cooperation, acording to the press release. The primary objective of the meetings had been to get to know each other better. There was only little common ground (kleine Schnittmengen) with Chinese media, but what was there ought to be used to enter a dialog, the press release quotes Limbourg.

Even earlier, on Friday, Hoffmann had published a press release in English, with details about Limbourg’s Chinese interlocutors:

From August 27 to 29, 2014, Limbourg met in the Chinese capital with, among others, the vice president of the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) as well as the presidents of the state educational broadcaster, China Education Television (CETV) and CCTV’s nationwide digital platform (CDP). Talks with the director general of China Radio International were also on the agenda.

Limbourg said the goal was “to present the journalistic offerings of Germany’s international broadcaster and to examine possibilities for an extended cooperation.” He said the discussions took place in “a good atmosphere and were very constructive.”

According to the Friday release,

A contract was signed with the cultural broadcaster SHTV, for the sale of more than 100 hours of DW Transtel programs. The cooperation will be expanded through a Chinese edition of DW’s weekly cultural magazine Arts.21. CDP will continue to broadcast the Chinese adaptation of DW’s lifestyle magazine Euromaxx for another three years. The program is available in 140 million Chinese households, via the Chinese World Geographic Channel, and is also accessible as video-on-demand at http://www.tv.cn.

On Thursday, Limbourg had spoken at the 5th Sino-German Media Forum of the Robert Bosch Foundation. The Robert Bosch Stiftung is frequently among the sponsors of harmonious east-western meetings.

Limbourg’s salesman-like approach isn’t welcomed everywhere in the German press (as far as the press pays attention at all). Michael Hanfeld of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote in an article published online on Saturday that Limbourg’s cooperations raise lots of questions. And as far as Frank Sieren‘s DW column of June 4 is concerned – the trigger for the Su Yutong incident [si je puis m’exprimer ainsi – JR] -, Hanfeld’s criticism comes across as somewhat resigned:

When reading Sieren’s articles more closely, an attitude becomes apparent that may suit a so-called business paper, but one that Germany’s foreign broadcaster cannot afford: the principle of let bygones be bygones, and keep focused on business.

Liest man Frank Sierens Beiträge genauer, offenbart sich eine Haltung, die vielleicht zu einer sogenannten Wirtschaftszeitung passt, die sich der deutsche Auslandsrundfunk aber nicht leisten darf: das Prinzip Schwamm drüber und immer schön an die Wirtschaftsbeziehungen denken.

While DW didn’t employ a permanent monitor to evaluate the Chinese department’s work anymore – Limbourg reportedly ended the practice several months ago -, occasional evaluations by an external expert were still an option, Hanfeld quotes DW. Hanfeld’s suggestion: try Chang Ping, who countered Sieren’s June-4 column with columns of his own, also published by DW. Or Su Yutong, who had asked Limbourg in an open letter to meet with Gao Yu too, while in China.

It probably won’t happen. In an apparently somewhat miffed DW statement requested by Hanfeld or FAZ, concerning Su’s open letter, no proposals from Su Yutong are needed to make sure that the DW director would advocate freedom of the press, freedom of information or freedom of opinion.

Yu Jie (余杰) on the other hand, who published China’s Best Actor in 2010,  a book about former Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao which had been broadcast by DW Chinese as an audio series, doesn’t think he needs DW anymore. In the September issue of Open Magazine (开放杂志, Hong Kong), Yu wrote that

As a dissident against CCP tyranny, I’m proud of my identity. I hereby declare that from now on, I will boycott Deutsche Welle. I won’t have interviews with them anymore, won’t listen to their programs anymore, won’t browse their website anymore – unless Deutsche Welle returns to the correct path [and no longer takes the ways of the Fifty-Cent-Party?], and restores Su Yutong to her job.

作为一名反抗中共暴政的异议人士,我为自己的这一身份而感到光荣。我也在此宣佈,从现在开始抵制德国之声,不再接受德国之声的访问,不再收听德国之声的广播节目,不再流览德国之声的网站——除非德国之声回归正道,不再是洋五毛当政,并恢复苏雨桐的职位。

In February – and therefore long before the Su Yutong incident -, Alina Fichter, an editor with German weekly Die Zeit , suggested in an article about Deutsche Welle TV that Limbourg’s ambitions to make DW “competitive”, and a provider of programs for “urban decisionmakers”, was not in line with the task of a publicly-owned broadcaster.

What makes these institutions [DW, but also the BBC] special is that they don’t need to earn money in the advertising markets, but rather need to convince us – those who pay for their funding – that they are legitimate [in what they are doing]. Legitimacy doesn’t stem from their viewing rate, but from the quality of their content.Das Besondere an diesen Anstalten ist, dass sie kein Geld auf den Werbemärkten verdienen müssen, aber dafür die Zahlenden – also uns – von ihrer Legitimität überzeugen sollten. Diese erwächst nicht aus der Höhe ihrer Quoten, sondern aus der Qualität ihrer Inhalte.

That a “broad majority” among the broadcasting commission supports the director seems to indicate that not every commission member does. But apparently, public debates about the course of the public broadcaster are deemed undesirable.

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Related

» Pendulum swings back, Aug 27, 2014
» Ask your Ancestors, SCMP, June 16, 2014
» Trivial matter, Jan 23, 2012
» Yu Jie’s sudden flight, Jan 13, 2012
» Negotiations with Politics, Dec 26, 2011
» Be more Xinhua, Oct 10, 2009
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Updates

» Media boast distinctive advantage, CNS, Sept 5, 2014

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Heaven or Hell: the Story of Su Yutong’s Dismissal as told by VoA

The following is a translation from a Voice of America (VoA) article published on August 21 and apparently updated early today. Some English terms used in this translation may not match the labor-law meaning accurately.

Corrections are welcome.

Links and footnotes within blockquotes added during translation.

Washington – The sudden dismissal of Deutsche Welle Chinese department reporter Su Yutong (pen name Wu Yu) on August 19 is attracting much attention. According to reports, the prolific journalist was dismissed is related to criticism of a column that whitewashed the 6-4 massacre [i. e. the Tian-An-Men massacre]. There are also reports believing that changes in Deutsche Welle’s guidelines on covering China le d to the dismissal of Su Yutong who was originally a dissident. Deutsche Welle denied such questions posed by reports and on social media.

华盛顿—德国之声电台中文部女记者苏雨桐(笔名吴雨)8月19日突然遭解雇的事件引起多方关注。有报道称,该多产记者遭辞退与德国之声一篇被批评粉饰六四屠杀的专栏文章有关。也有报道认为,德国之声的中国报道政策的变化是导致原为异议人士的苏雨桐离职的原因。德国之声否认有关报道和社交媒体上出现的质疑
Su Yutong’s sudden dismissal had first been disclosed on Twitter by internet commentator Bei Feng (actual name Wen Yunchao) on 19th of August.
苏雨桐被突然解雇的消息是现在美国的网络评论人士北风(本名温云超)8月19日首先在社交网站推特上披露的。。

One day before, Wu’er Kaixi, a former leader oft he Beijing student movement [of 1989] came to Deutsche Welle headquarters in Bonn to protest against the article published on June 4 which was seen as beautifying the CCP’s opening fire to suppress the citizens and students of Beijing. This article, titled “From Tian An Men to Leipzig”, diluted the 6-4 incident to “a momentary mistake in the history of New China”1).

此前一天,来自台湾的前北京学运领袖吾尔开希到位于波恩的德国之声总部,抗议该媒体今年六四期间发表的一篇被认为美化中共开枪镇压北京市民和学生的文章。这篇题为“从天安门到莱比锡”的文章把六四事件淡化为“新中国历史上一时的失足。”

This article, written by Deutsche Welle commenator Frank Sieren in Beijing, led to strong rebounds from the organization “Tian An Men Mothers“ and from 89 participants in [the 1989] movement.

这篇文章由德国之声新雇用的驻北京特约评论员泽林(Frank Sieren) 撰写,引起了六四难属团体“天安门母亲”和众多89民运参与者的强烈反弹。

Frank Sieren, who says that he has lived in Beijing for twenty years, allegedly owns a media company. Some critics who started joint protests demand that Deutsche Welle drop Sieren’s controversial article. Su Yutong and another contributing Deutsche Welle commentator, former “Southern Weekend” news department director Chang Ping, took part in the joint protests. Chang Ping also published articles on Deutsche Welle’s website, in a debate with Sieren.

自称在北京居住了20年的泽林被指在中国拥有一家媒体公司。一些批评者曾发起联署抗议行动,要求德国之声撤下泽林这篇有争议文章。苏雨桐和德国之声另一位特约评论员、原《南方周末》新闻部主任长平参与了联署抗议。长平曾在德国之声网站刊文,与泽林展开争论。

Deutsche Welle spokesman Johannes Hoffmann issued a statement2) confirming that the freelance working contract with Su Yutong had been terminated, because of inappropriate behavior.

德国之声发言人霍夫曼(Johannes Hoffmann)21日发表声明确认,已经终止它与中国自由撰稿人苏雨桐的工作关系,原因是员工的不当行为。

[Hoffmann‘s] statement said Deutsche Welle objects to talk on social media about political motivations for the termination of Su Yutong’s contract, or about the termination being related to limits to freedom of expression at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department . The statement emphasized that diversity of opinion was respected, and that the immediate measure [of dismissing Su Yutong] had been made because of breach of trust between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong.

声明表示,德国之声反对社交媒体上关于苏雨桐被终止工作关系有政治动机或者是由于德国之声中文部的表达自由受到限制等说法。德国之声的这份声明强调尊重意见多元化,并称决定采取解雇立即生效的步骤是由于德国之声与苏雨桐之间的信任遭到破坏。

The statement accuses Su of not heeding repeated admonishments and kept tweeting internal and confidential information about Deutsche Welle and the organization’s editorial staff, thus opposing staff hired by the organization and the organization’s management in her actions.

声明指责苏雨桐不听德国之声当局的一再劝告,在推特上散布有关德国之声及其编辑人员的内部信息和机密,从而在行动上对抗雇用单位及其管理层和工作人员。

The statement said that terminating Su Yutong’s employment is the result of inappropriate behavior, not a restriction on freedom of expression. The statement said that no employer would accept her behavior.

声明表示,决定结束与苏雨桐的雇佣关系是个人不当行为的结果,而非限制表达自由。声明称,没有雇主会接受她的这种行为。

Su Yutong told VoA in an interview Deutsche Welle executives had emphasized that the station could not become “Voice of the Dissidents”, but that she had only published, on her own behalf, published information concerning the debate about Sieren’s article and its publication.

苏雨桐在接受美国之音采访时指出,德国之声高层在曾强调该电台不能成为“异议之声”,而她只是以个人名义在推特上参与有关泽林文章的争论和发布有关消息。

Su Yutong says that she can calmly accept [the allegation] that she acted against internal Deutsche Welle regulations, but continued to believe that the debate about Sieren’s article had been a public matter and that it was necessary for the truth of the matter to be handled publicly, rather than to be processed in a dark room.

苏雨桐表示,说她违反了德国之声的内部规定,她可以平静地接受,但她仍然认为,有关泽林文章的争论是个公共事件,公开相关事实真相是有必要的,不应该在内部暗箱操作。

“When it comes to this kind of internal meeting at Deutsche Welle, I can accept that from that perspective. But from where to judge this incident with Sieren’s article, that being processed as an internal Deutsche Welle issue, is something that needs to be taken to the public. I stand by this opinion. I believe that this is a public matter. “

她说:“这样德国之声的一个内部会议。那我从这个角度来说,我是接受的。但是从如何判断泽林这个事件是德国之声内部暗箱操作呢,还是拿到公共平台上,我还是坚持我的看法,我认为,它是个公共事件。”

Su Yutong told VoA that when Deutsche Welle executives and the Deutsche Welle Asia department director informed her about her dismissal without knowledge of the circumstances, they also mentioned another reason, saying that it was related to new Deutsche Welle director Peter Limbourg’s demand that the Chinese department “should not criticize Beijing all the time “. Limbourg is going to take part in a Sino-German media forum organized by official Chinese media in early September.

苏雨桐对美国之音表示,德国之声高层在她和亚洲部主任毫不知情的情况下突然对她宣布辞退决定的时候还提到另一个理由,这和德国之声新台长林伯格(Peter Limbourg)提出的中文部“不要总是批评北京”的要求有关。林伯格将于9月初到北京参加中国官媒主办的中德媒体论坛。

Su Yutong says: “She (the program director) said that Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department needed a new direction. I believe that you don’t fit into this new direction. This is the reason she gave me for my dismissal. So I asked her, very curiously. I said that I have worked for Deutsche Welle for four years, and all my reports, no matter what, were always rated best by our evaluation system. I said that I had always acted in accordance with Deutsche Welle’s rules of journalistic professionalism when reporting. Now you are saying that I don’t meet these standards, but I that what I have embodied in the reports is just this professional quality. As for values, I think that in my reporting, some can be seen. My position has also been constant. If you say that my your direction and mine are not the same, doesn’t that amount to a direction oppsite to mine? She also refused to answer this question.”

苏雨桐说:“她(节目总监)说德国之声中文部要有一个新的方向,这个新的方向我认为你不符合。这是她给我的被辞的理由。那我就也是很好奇的问了她。我说,我在德国之声工作了四年,我所有的报道无论从我们的评估体系来说,我一直是第一。我说,我一直在秉承德国之声记者的这样一个职业操守、规则,在作这样的报道。那现在你说我不符合这个规范,我想我在报道当中体现的就是这个记者的专业素质。至于价值观,我想,通过我的报道,也可以看出一些。我的立场也是恒定的。如果你们说方向和我的不同,那是不是意味着和我相反的方向?她也是拒绝回答这个问题。”

In an email reply to VoA on August 21, Deutsche Welle’s international relations department attached the statement by the spokesman quoted above, but there was no reply to the questions as to how Su Yutong’s coninuous performance at Deutsche Welle was assessed.

德国之声国际关系部21日给美国之音记者电邮的回复中附上了该媒体发言人的上述声明,但是没有回答如何评价苏雨桐在德国之声的一贯工作表现等问题。

In recent days, the grudges and disputes between Deutsche Welle and Su Yutong have been reported by Germany’s “Spiegel Online” and other German media, as well as detailed coverage by some overseas media in Chinese. Huanqiu Shibao, a paper under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, also published a commentary about the storm around Su Yutong’s dismissal. This incident brought the 2008 incident back into focus when then deputy Chinese department director Zhang Danhong had been criticized for beautifying Beijing’s policies, which had resulted in her removal.

几天来,德国之声和苏雨桐之间的恩怨纠纷得到了德国明镜在线等多家德国媒体和一些海外中文媒体的详细报道。中共党报人民日报旗下的环球时报也刊登评论员文章,谈苏雨桐被辞退风波。这一事件致使德国之声在2008年该电台中文部副主任张丹红因其报道被指过于美化北京政策遭撤职之后又一次成为新闻焦点。

Su Yutong revealed that in July, the former Chinese department director, who had always supported her work, was transferred to another department, and that a new director had been parachuted into the Chinese department from Berlin.

苏雨桐披露,7月间,充分支持她工作的原中文部主任被调到该电台其他部门,柏林方面给德国之声中文部空降了一位新主任。

The dismissed reporter said that she had been paid on a daily basis [unsure about my translation of the payment description here – JR], that the contract ends with the end of the year, and that she will then face the issue that she cannot continue to live in Germany legally. She also said that she was asked to close the office computer on the spot, to hand over the swipe card and to leave immediately. She didn’t get the respect former employees should get, and there hadn’t even been time to say Goodbye to some colleagues. She pledged to take up with Deutsche Welle by legal means.

这位被解雇的女记者还表示,她本是德国之声按日计酬的合同制雇员,本期合同年底到期,届时将面临无法继续在德国合法居留的问题。她还表示,自己被要求当场关闭办公电脑,交出门卡,“立即走人”,没有获得离职员工应有的尊重,连跟一些同事道别的时间都没有。她誓言将以法律途径跟德国之声交涉。

Su Yutong left China in the late 1980s. She had been in charge of an NGO in Beijing, active in human-rights activities, and therefore harrassed and pursued by state security. In 2010, after arriving in Bonn, she was hired by those in charge at Deutsche Welle at the time.

80后的苏雨桐离开中国前是北京一个非政府组织的负责人,积极从事维权活动,因而遭到国保骚扰和追捕。2010年,她到达波恩后获得当时的德国之声电台负责人聘用。

A comment in the article’s comenting section warns VoA’s Chinese department:

The CCP-leaning, pro-Zhang-Danhong forces are launching a counteroffensive! VoA’s Chinese department should take some lessons from this, and must not allow pro-CCP forces to spread successfully there! I remind the Chinese department at VoA that it should have a plan ready to check up the moles and to take preventive measures!

《德国之声》内部亲共的张丹红势力开始反扑了!美国之音应当从中借鉴一些教训吧,绝不能让亲中共势力在美国之音中文部得逞蔓延!提醒《美国之音中文部》应有计划地清理“内鬼”,防患于未然!

There are more comments of the same tenor, but also comments angry at “anti-China” forces:

Come and work for VoA. In any case, these are the anti-China headquarters, the paradise for anti-China people.

可以来VOA上班的嘛,反正这里是反华的大本营,这里是反华人士的天堂

That said, paradise today might be hell tomorrow.

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Footnotes

1) the German version of Sieren’s article refers to “a one-off in new Chinese history – “ein Ausrutscher in der neuen chinesischen Geschichte “. “New China” isn’t mentioned.
2) The Deutsche Welle statement in full, of August 21.

____________

Related

» Those Southern newspaper commentators, Jan 28, 2013

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