Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is temporarily suspending all of its activities with a view to the planned digital media house in Berlin. The broadcaster announced this on Monday evening.
“In light of the allegations leveled against me personally and the broadcaster, we have committed ourselves to full clarification. For us, this includes not continuing any processes whose proper start is currently being publicly questioned,” said director Patricia Schlesinger, explaining this step. The construction of the digital media house by 2026 is one of the largest investments of the broadcaster with a volume of currently envisaged 100 million euros and should ensure that online, television and radio in the RBB are created from a single source.
In order to provide clarity on this issue, the management decided today to temporarily interrupt the planning and implementation work for the digital media house. “We will wait until the allegations have been fully clarified before taking any new steps.” Everyone should be sure that they are participating in a project that has been set up correctly, without a doubt,” says Schlesinger.
In the meantime, it has become known that the RBB leadership with director Schlesinger will not accept the Brandenburg state parliament’s invitation to the media committee meeting on Tuesday. After a motion by the AfD parliamentary group, the parliamentarians wanted to talk about the allegations against the RBB. Instead, written statements were now sent.
The allegations against RBB include the allegation that when hiring consultants for the new media company, the head of the board of directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf, preferred personal contacts. This was denied by Wolf. However, at a special meeting of the board of directors last Tuesday, he had to admit that, contrary to previous assurances, he had known one of the consultants before he was commissioned and had met him in the office of former Berlin Senator for Economic Affairs Wolfgang Branoner.
There were also inconsistencies in the case of the consultant Henner Mahlstedt. The real estate manager sits on the board of directors of the holding company, which was awarded the contract as general contractor. When the broadcaster noticed this possible conflict of interest, his consulting work was initially put on hold. However, the RBB only announced this after a request from the daily mirror.
At a meeting of the Broadcasting Council last Friday, the head of the board of directors, Wolf, announced that he intends to remain in office until the allegations have been clarified. The broadcaster’s audit and compliance officers had commissioned the external law firm Abel Lutz to examine the allegations. The Board of Directors agreed with this review.
According to the announcement, RBB wants to inform everyone involved in the construction of the media house about this step in the coming days and discuss how the interruption in the project can be implemented without permanent damage to the overall project. The further implementation of the editorial and technical change and renewal processes of rbb remains unaffected.