The liberation by the RBB board of directors, which was hoped for not least by many employees of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), did not materialize. The special meeting of the committee on Tuesday, which was convened after media reports of misconduct at the top of the station, ended after several hours without any personnel decisions.
“We had a very intensive and comprehensive meeting on Tuesday, in which we had extensive reports from Wolf-Dieter Wolf as Chairman of the Board of Directors and RBB Director General Patricia Schlesinger,” said Dorette König, Vice-Chairman of the RBB Board of Directors the daily mirror. According to König, an important signal from the special meeting of the eight-person control committee is that “we, the Board of Directors, will be very closely involved in the commissioned compliance and auditing process”.
König points out that this is an ongoing process. The Board of Directors expects this review, which will be accompanied by an external law firm, to take place “promptly and with full transparency”. “You have to wait for this examination first.” There is no date for another meeting of the board of directors, but a new meeting can be convened at short notice if necessary.
As was learned from others, the meeting was factual but nonetheless controversial. Director Schlesinger, as before, rejected all allegations against the employees and the public. The head of the board of directors, Wolf, was also unable to identify any wrongdoing and issued a corresponding affidavit.
The head of the board rejected the wish of many members of the board of directors that Wolf-Dieter Wolf should rest his offices until the end of the audit. The council again saw no reason to remove him from office, especially since the allegations are initially being examined by an independent party.
After a meeting on Wednesday, the RBB staff council contacted the station’s employees via the intranet. In a statement, the employee representatives called on the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf, to leave his office “until the allegations in the room have been finally clarified”. “The suspicions are complicated, weigh heavily and hit the RBB as a whole. It’s about our credibility.”
The RBB audit department and the broadcaster’s compliance officer commissioned the Lutz Abel law firm to carry out the external audit. More than 70 lawyers work for the law firm in a wide variety of fields. They range from banking and capital market law to public procurement law. But also compliance
The Lutz Abel law firm is representing ARD in a lawsuit against Bild TV. The order originally came from WDR, but affects all ARD broadcasters. A lawyer who worked for RBB around ten years ago is working for the lawsuit in the law firm. It was about the legal dispute about an editor of the RBB, who sued for a permanent position. The procedure went all the way to the Federal Labor Court. At the time, however, the lawyer was still working for the Loh law firm, which RBB had commissioned. That is why the broadcaster attaches importance to the statement that RBB has not yet commissioned the law firm Lutz Abel and has never had contact with any of the lawyers who are now undertaking the compliance check.
In the meantime, it has become known that the broadcaster still has to prepare for a completely different kind of test. After the Berlin Court of Auditors only dealt with the RBB in the 2018 annual report and criticized, among other things, excessive salary increases and special payments, it is now looking at a new investigation.
“The Berlin Court of Auditors and the Brandenburg State Court of Auditors have informed the Senate and State Chancellery of their states on the occasion of the planned amendment of the RBB State Treaty that they intend to jointly examine the RBB,” said the two institutions on Tuesday in response to a corresponding request from the It is not yet certain when results can be expected, but it should not be a long-term matter.
Now, at very short notice, the Broadcasting Council will meet in a non-public special session. A one-hour switching conference of the members of the Broadcasting Council was scheduled for Friday afternoon after there was an urgent desire from among the councils for a discussion with director Schlesinger and head of the administrative board Wolf.
Friederike von Kirchbach, the chairwoman of the committee, had initially rejected an extraordinary meeting of the control committee. “Of course, as Chair of the Broadcasting Council, I will be informed about the allegations that have now been made and possible backgrounds, a polarizing article alone is no reason for the Broadcasting Council to deal with it, and certainly not for a special session,” she told the Tagesspiegel. The next regular meeting of the Broadcasting Council will take place in September. A lot can happen before then.