ARCHIV - 10.09.2020, Berlin: Patricia Schlesinger, Intendantin des Rundfunks Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), steht nach der Rundfunkratssitzung des RBB vor den Fotografen. Die Intendantin des Rundfunks Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) tritt zurück. Foto: Paul Zinken/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

In the run-up to the eagerly awaited non-public meeting of the RBB Broadcasting Council on Monday afternoon, which wants to decide on the early dismissal of Patricia Schlesinger as artistic director, demands and claims not only intensified on Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, but also on the public legal system as a whole. The keywords, after the misconduct of the RBB leadership (accusations of nepotism, violation of compliance rules and lax handling of fee money): structural reform, transparency, control and generally binding rules. Basically, the nine state broadcasters, including ARD, can hardly leave a stone unturned.

New pressure for the Broadcasting Council on Monday afternoon came from the RBB editorial committee on Monday. This has demanded the disclosure of all bonuses in the house. In the statement “All disclosed!”, the committee called on the Broadcasting Council to do everything possible at its meeting in the afternoon to ensure that all contracts, bonuses, performance-related salary components, bonuses, business, economic and special reports are disclosed in the broadcaster.

Patricia Schlesinger also took part in the Broadcasting Council meeting. She defended her work as head of the station to the members of the broadcasting and administrative boards, but apologized for the circumstances to which the station is exposed by the allegations against her. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” quoted from Schlesinger’s speech manuscript on Monday. The high costs for the conversion of the executive floor – it should be around 1.4 million euros, she explained with an “overdue pollutant and fire protection renovation”. As in the interview with the Tagesspiegel, Schlesinger justified the dinners in her private rooms with the fact that she wanted to anchor the station better in the city and country through a “format for multipliers, for interesting people to exchange ideas”. Schlesinger also commented on the cost increases for the construction of the digital media house. The reasons for this are rescheduling and general price increases.

In terms of RBB, the motto now applies: After the special meeting is before the next extraordinary meeting. On Tuesday from 10 a.m. interim director Hagen Brandstätter, head of the administrative board Dorette König and Friederike von Kirchbach as chairwoman of the administrative board in the budget committee of the state of Brandenburg will answer questions from the MPs. Schlesinger and the former chief inspector Wolf-Dieter Wolf stayed away from the first special session despite being invited, which loudly annoyed the parliamentarians from Brandenburg. The meeting this Tuesday is public, RBB television also broadcasts.

While in Berlin and Potsdam one extraordinary meeting follows the next, interrupted by committee meetings in the Brandenburg state parliament, there is no such hurry elsewhere. In Berlin, the topic of RBB in the Prussian state parliament, the seat of the Berlin House of Representatives, will probably only be discussed in the next regular session. The problems at RBB have long since become a burden for the entire ARD. The directors of the broadcasting network exchanged views on the state of affairs on Masurenallee in various special digital channels. The ARD communication does not want to say anything about the topics, they want to “first discuss the talks internally”. A special conference on the consequences of the RBB affair is not planned. “The next regular meeting in attendance is – as of now – planned for September 13th and 14th,” was announced on request.

When it comes to compliance, too, the responses from the individual broadcasters are hesitant. “Compliance is ensured at BR through a variety of regulations that are regularly reviewed and adjusted,” said a spokesman for Bayerischer Rundfunk. “There is a differentiated set of rules that obliges employees and management to act in accordance with the law and regulations in their respective areas of responsibility and tasks.” review and develop.

WDR is currently taking stock of its compliance management. “This process,” says a spokesman, “was initiated long before the events at RBB, and we will of course take current developments into account.” WDR has an anti-corruption officer and a lawyer as an external contact point/ombudsman for whistleblowers. RadioBremen, HR, and SWR, MDR and SR also refer to their respective legal departments as contact points for whistleblowers.

According to the station spokeswoman, ZDF employees should not use their status to obtain individual private benefits. In addition to the employee code of conduct, this is recorded in individual regulations on gifts, invitations, discounts and travel. Compliance with these regulations is regularly checked by the auditors. “Dealing with business partners, both professionally and privately, must be designed in such a way that no dependencies arise from this that could call into question the (journalistic) independence of the ZDF employees.” In May of this year, a compliance board set up. This evaluates compliance risks relevant to the company and submits proposals for the adjustment of the compliance-relevant set of rules and compliance-relevant measures. In addition, it initiates training or communication measures.

But is that all enough? See also the NDR. A spokeswoman points out to the Tagesspiegel that compliance at NDR is ensured by a variety of regulations that are regularly checked and adjusted. For example, there is a code of conduct for permanent and freelance employees as well as service instructions for permanent employees, for example about not accepting gifts and other benefits.

The broadcaster, under the leadership of Joachim Knuth, wants to know how seriously NDR takes the issue – detail in passing: Knuth’s salary is 346,000 euros, his predecessor Lutz Marmor received 19,000 euros more – just using the example of the film “The Good Goering ’ from 2016. Schlesinger’s husband Gerhard Spörl helped to write the screenplay, and she herself was in charge of the culture and documentation program at the time. Even then, the problem of a possible conflict of interest was seen, the job had to be approved by the television director first, and responsibility also changed to another program area.

In order to rule out any hint of nepotism in view of the current allegations against Schlesinger, the process is now being examined again, both by the internal audit department and the NDR’s anti-corruption officer. The broadcaster is well advised in several respects to be very precise in such questions: NDR’s area of ​​responsibility includes ARD-aktuell, i.e. the various editions of the “Tagesschau” and the “Tagesthemen”. Credibility and trust are essential for a broadcaster that was involved in the production of the Oscar-winning documentary “Citizenfour” – also the responsibility of Patricia Schlesinger.