The Schlesinger/nepotism/RBB cause and the consequences: not a day goes by without discussions about the services, limits and controls of public broadcasting. Now Saxony-Anhalt’s Media Minister Rainer Robra (CDU) has called for new power relations at the top of the ARD broadcasters in the “Zeit” interview: “The directors are too powerful. This monocratic ‘everyone looks at the director’ with us is no longer up to date”. Instead, we would need a board based on company law in which power is distributed in the stations.” Swiss broadcasting already has that.
The grievances that have come to light at RBB are “systemic”, criticizes Robra. At the top, the system requires very strong personalities because it creates temptations that shouldn’t be created. One should “not be satisfied with castigating the individual case of Schlesinger and otherwise pretending that something similar cannot happen elsewhere.” He therefore advocates “that we take the Schlesinger case as an opportunity for a courageous ARD reform.”
Robra also has the NDR in mind. Following allegations against editorial managers at Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Kiel, the independent Schleswig-Holstein State Broadcasting Council has launched an investigation. The case revolves around allegations in connection with the political reporting of the public broadcaster ARD.
“Business Insider” and “Stern” had reported allegations that there could be a kind of filter by the superiors in the editorial office. For example, it was about an interview that an NDR journalist wanted to conduct, but his superiors refused.
In a letter to the Funkhaus leadership, numerous NDR employees called for the complete and transparent processing of all allegations. It’s about the reputation of the station. The letter also spoke of lost trust. The German Association of Journalists North emphasized that the mere impression that there could have been an intervention in political reporting is a shame for the broadcaster – whose capital is trust in independent journalism.
According to experts, public broadcasters must seek much more dialogue with the public. At a conference of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation on “Public-service media: the cornerstone of a democratic society”, Jürgen Betz from the Historical Commission of the ARD said that the public-service media are more valuable than ever, but have to make more of them. In a complex world, people need to be taken along more, more needs to be explained.
The Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary Heike Raab, who is the coordinator of the broadcasting commission of the federal states, lacks channels for discussion between public broadcasters and the population. Criticism from the public must be taken seriously. A Forsa survey by the “FAZ” also fits in with this. Only 13 percent of people in Berlin and Brandenburg are in favor of someone at the head of the RBB in the future who comes from public broadcasting. 66 percent of Berliners and 70 percent of Brandenburgers prefer external candidates.
A lot of work for the RBB Broadcasting Council, which is currently looking for an interim director after Schlesinger’s resignation and now wants to make a decision next Wednesday. Most recently, names such as ex-NDR director Lutz Marmor or Reinhart Binder, ex-legal officer and director of law and corporate development at RBB, have been traded. As was learned from the broadcaster on Wednesday, the interim director should not and will not leave the house.