words Alexa Wang
In the West we were lulled into a false state of security. We imagined the rest of the world was on a steady track towards freedom and democracy; on a steady track to become just like us. In this bubble of our own making it was easy to switch off from the reality that most people in the globe were suffering under.
In the last few years however, we have become more aware that much of the world does not enjoy our wealth and our freedom of information. The globalisation and opening up of media has been chaotic and at times disturbing but it has opened our eyes to what is going on.
State control of information is the way authoritarian regimes retain power over their populations. Well now Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), has partnered with Berlin-based designer Marco Scaiano on the Uncensored Collection.
Deutsche Welle (DW) is Germany’s international broadcaster, providing journalistic content in 32 languages. In 2022, despite censorship in several countries, DW has reached 291 million global user per week. This includes – using online platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram – reaching audiences in countries like Russia and Iran. Content has a focus on freedom and human rights, democracy, free trade and social justice, health education and environmental protection, technology and innovation.
DW’s partnership with Scaiano has produced a fashion collection with a difference that hopes to make a difference. Its aim is to bring attention to methods of circumventing censorship and also to protect journalists worldwide. Proceeds from the collection will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, non-profit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide.
Along with the message, each item of clothing will include practical instructions to help people circumvent censorship and access independent media – no matter where they are or what regime they live under.
“Freedom is stitched into everything we do,” said Guido Baumhauer, Managing Director Distribution, Marketing and Technology and responsible for DW’s global marketing activities. “The Uncensored Collection reflects our fight against censorship and our support for freedom of expression worldwide.”
“We are grateful to DW for partnering with CPJ on this innovative campaign to ensure that no one is deprived of the fundamental right to be informed,” said Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, Advocacy and Communications Director at CPJ. “As digital media is increasingly targeted for control, we must resist and be equipped to circumvent online censorship, which this campaign aims to do.”
DW has made fighting censorship a core principle and is working consistently to provide people everywhere with the information they need to understand problems and issues affecting their societies. Over the past decade, DW has also been utilizing a censorship circumvention system called Psiphon, which works by using a network of different proxy servers (an intermediary between a user and an online source). With this technology, users in countries like China and Iran have been given the power to access unbiased information from reliable sources.
Now this campaign is all well and good and we support the aims but it only makes sense if the clothes match the rhetoric. Well thankfully they do. The garments are subtle and cool but boldly shout out out the questioning message underlying the campaign. Take a look for yourself. How do you shout out in an understated way? I’m not sure but somehow they do just that.
For more information go to https://uncensored.dw.com. The collection is available on Marco Scaiano’s website at https://marcoscaiano.com/product-category/dw-uncensored with proceeds going to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, non-profit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide.