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Deutsche Welle launches radio series on Ebola for West Africa

(PresseBox) (Bonn, ) Starting November 19, Deutsche Welle (DW) launches a radio series on Ebola for listeners in Africa, initially in English, followed by four regional languages. The eight-part series focuses on the most burning questions, myths and fears surrounding the deadly virus.

"Over 5,200 dead, 14,000 infected and new cases appearing in Mali indicate that we can by no means start to relax," says Claus Stäcker, head of DW's Africa Department. "Although there are now various information campaigns, ignorance about Ebola is still widespread. This is fertile ground for rumors, uncertainty and fear."

The series, which targets listeners in West Africa, begins with a kind of "on-air research." The audience listens-in as two African journalists share their own experiences, news agencies' reports, scientific articles or social media discussions, and look for conclusive answers to pressing questions.

"It was important to us not to present ourselves as Western know-it-alls," says Stäcker. In the new format, Africans communicate with Africans. "This allows survivors of the Ebola outbreaks in Gulu, Uganda in 2000 to talk about their experiences in an effort to help the West Africans." It also makes it easier to touch on especially sensitive topics, such as burial customs, rituals in dealing with the dead bodies, hygiene and sexuality.

The current eight-part Ebola special, funded by the Federal Foreign Office, will initially be broadcast in English, followed by French, Hausa, Kiswahili and Portuguese. It can be heard primarily by listeners in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali and neighboring states via shortwave, FM and mobile devices.

DW's radio programming reaches more than 40 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to shortwave broadcasts, the programs in Amharic, English, French, Hausa, Kiswahili and Portuguese are re-broadcast by 250 partner stations. DW has over 650,000 Facebook fans in Africa.

DW Special: Ebola - Get the facts

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