In view of the affair surrounding the resigned RBB director Patricia Schlesinger, CDU boss Friedrich Merz has called on public broadcasting to undertake reforms.

In a guest article for the “Badische Latest News” (Saturday), he also questioned the coexistence of ARD and ZDF. “The Schlesinger affair has the potential to finally deprive public service broadcasting in Germany of its legitimacy and public acceptance.”

ARD and ZDF now have perhaps one of the last opportunities to show that they are able to correct mistakes on their own and initiate changes.

Patricia Schlesinger has been exposed to numerous allegations of nepotism for weeks. She then resigned as RBB director and as ARD chairwoman. The Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office has taken over the investigation.

As leader of the opposition in the Bundestag, Merz called on the institutions to focus on their information mission again. The strengths of public service broadcasting are documentaries and series that cannot be found in private broadcasting. “But you don’t need two competing television stations to be represented at all events at the same time. The fee payers can at least demand closer cooperation between ARD and ZDF, especially in the case of expensive sporting events.”

Merz also demanded that the Schlesinger affair be fully clarified and that the supervisory authorities be reviewed. The broadcasters would have to show transparency and disclose the salaries of those responsible as well as the payment flows to the numerous production companies. “This also and especially applies to the moderators of the well-known talk shows and entertainment programs.”