By Asaf Shalev
A German government-owned news broadcaster has launched an investigation into a report that four of its employees and one freelancer made social media comments that downplay the Holocaust and promote antisemitism.
The five individuals, members of Deutsche Welle’s Arabic service, are being suspended from work until the investigation is concluded, the news service announced on Friday.
Leading the investigation will be two independent experts, former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and psychologist Ahmad Mansour.
The comments, posted in private social media accounts, surfaced this week in coverage by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Deutsche Welle requires its employees to abide by a set of ethical principles that includes a commitment to Israel’s right to exist and a rejection of antisemitism. The comments that appeared in Sueddeutsche Zeitung violate those principles, according to Peter Limbourg, Deutsche Welle’s director general.
“The private statements made by some DW employees that were quoted in the press are incompatible with the values which we all stand for at DW,” Limbourg said.
Deutsche Welle reported the investigators will both examine what had occurred and recommend how to avoid similar incidents from occurring again.