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Jordanian TV rejects German station’s accusation of antisemitic content

After Deutsche Welle suspended partnership, Roya TV’s chief executive says ‘criticism of illegal, inhumane or racist actions by Israel as a state’ is not antisemitism

The building of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany, July 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz, File)
The building of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany, July 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz, File)

AMMAN — A Jordanian broadcaster on Monday rejected accusations of publishing antisemitic content that led a German broadcaster to suspend a decade-long cooperation agreement.

Amman-based Roya TV said in a statement that it “regrets the declared decision” of international German broadcaster Deutsche Welle to suspend the partnership.

It added the Arab media group was the target of “a hostile campaign” from parties it did not name.

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Sunday it was suspending cooperation with Roya TV, because of concerns about anti-Israel and antisemitic content and caricatures on its social media.

In Monday’s statement, Fares Sayegh, Roya’s chief executive, stressed that the “criticism of illegal, inhumane or racist actions by Israel as a state” should be differentiated from antisemitism.

The German public broadcaster’s partnership arrangements involve Deutsche Welle supplying journalistic content. Sayegh said his channel had “a successful professional relationship” with Deutsche Welle.

Deutsche Welle said it had entered a partnership with Roya TV because the broadcaster addressed issues such as gender equality, the rights of minorities in Jordan and promoting young people’s media literacy.

But Guido Baumhauer, a senior executive with the German company, said Sunday it will have to re-evaluate the cooperation because “several pieces of content disseminated via the broadcaster’s social media channels are definitely not consistent with the values of DW.” He added in a statement: “We are truly sorry that we did not notice these disgusting images.”

The company said it “vehemently” distances itself from such content and “regrets its initial assessment that Roya TV is not anti-Israel.”

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and have close security ties. However, diplomatic relations have been strained in recent years over tensions at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, and Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

On Friday, Deutsche Welle said in a separate case that it was suspending four employees and one freelancer during an investigation into allegations that they expressed anti-Israel and antisemitic views.

German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung had quoted social media comments allegedly made by members of DW’s Arabic service, including some that appeared to downplay the Holocaust or perpetuate anti-Jewish stereotypes.

DW said it requested an independent external investigation. The probe will be conducted by former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and psychologist Ahmad Mansour.

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