Date: Friday, 25 October 2019
The German Foreign Ministry has defended the importance of press freedom after Berlin's ambassador to Eritrea was summoned over DW's media coverage of the country. Eritrea says it is being misrepresented.
The Eritrean foreign ministry summoned Germany's ambassador to its offices earlier this week over DW's reporting on the country.
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel on Monday claimed that DW — Germany's state-owned international broadcaster — was engaged in an "unbridled smear campaign" against Eritrea.
In its response, the German Foreign Ministry described the broadcaster as "an independent media outlet that works to high journalistic standards."
"Press freedom is a valuable asset and prerequisite for a functioning democracy," the ministry, which gave no further details about the ambassador's meeting, said in a statement on Wednesday.
DW has not issued a formal response on the matter.
Meskel had criticized the way the country's peace process with neighboring Ethiopia was portrayed. He also criticized the reporting of the country's system of national service, which conscripts most citizens into the military and workforce indefinitely.
Meskel said the German ambassador had been summoned to seek clarification.
The small country in the Horn of Africa has been ruled by President Isaias Afwerki since 1993, when it became independent from Ethiopia.
A United Nations inquiry commission in 2016 accused the country's government of crimes against humanity, including slavery, torture, rape and murder.