Deutsche Welle: Arabic talk show on homosexuality triggers off a strong reaction

Bonn, (PresseBox) - The latest edition of Shababtalk (youth talk show) on DW (Arabia) has triggered off both a strong and controversial reaction. The discussion round with young Arab and German guests focuses this week on homosexuality.

Since the first broadcast, the viewers of Shababtalk have been discussing homosexuality - a topic continuing to be taboo in Arab countries, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The DW program is also being commented upon in a large number of media, including CNN ARABIA and the Egyptian daily newspaper Almasry Alyoum, and is finding an echo in the press from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
"Homosexuality continues to be regarded as a big taboo topic in Arab countries," explains DW moderator Jaafar Abdul-Karim. On the one hand, homosexuality faces severe punishments, and on the other hand, there exist in several countries civil society initiatives, in which civil rights campaigners or homosexuals themselves get engaged for their rights. "Therefore it's important for us to provide a platform for discussion and open exchange of opinion on this sensitive human rights issue. The reactions show that we have hit a nerve by the public," says Abdul-Karim. The talk show guests included a liberal imam having the opportunity to express his opinion on the relationship between homosexuality and Islam.

With the last three editions including one focusing on the theme "Acquittal of Mubarak," Shababtalk has registered more than 300,000 hits on YouTube. Measured by the reactions on the social media platforms, the December editions represent the hitherto most successful of this Arabic TV-format of DW. The program is also one of the most discussed on the Facebook page of DW (Arabia), which has more than 879,000 fans.

"Especially in the Arabic programming, Deutsche Welle is committed to dialogue and shared values like freedom of expression and tolerance. We pick up controversial topics that interest young people in the Arab world, but otherwise are not to be seen in their own media, such as the role of women, homosexuality and the relationship of individuals to religion. Thus we provoke and spur on," says DW Editor-in-Chief Alexander Kudascheff. Shababtalk provides a forum for the exchange of opinions and sharing experiences.

Deutsche Welle launched the weekly Arabic talk show Shababtalk mid-2011. The co-production with Al Hayah TV from Egypt had to be ended by the partner in 2013 upon political pressure from Cairo.

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