A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (3 February) on the measures announced by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs against Deutsche Welle:
The measures announced today by the Russian Government against Deutsche Welle are entirely unfounded and pose a further burden to German-Russian relations. Should these measures actually be implemented, this would significantly curtail free reporting by independent journalists in Russia, which is especially important in times of political tension.
We firmly reject the comparison between Deutsche Welle and the broadcaster RT DE. Deutsche Welle works as an independent broadcaster whose staff in Russia have been working as freelance journalists for years on the basis of the applicable legislation and with the necessary licence. RT DE is currently broadcasting without a licence, and has not applied for one, although this is a prerequisite for broadcasting. Responsibility for reviewing such matters lies with the competent independent supervisory authorities for private broadcasters, which made the decision on RT DE yesterday. The same rules apply to RT DE as to all other broadcasters, including the aspect of separation between broadcast media and the state. The German Government is not able or allowed to exert any influence on this procedure. Under German law, RT DE has the option of taking legal action against the decision by the supervisory authority for private broadcasters