ARCHIV - 20.12.2021, Berlin: Patricia Schlesinger, Journalistin, am Rande eines dpa-Interview. Angesichts zahlreicher Vorwürfe tritt die Intendantin des Rundfunks Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), Patricia Schlesinger, mit sofortiger Wirkung von ihrem Amt als ARD-Vorsitzende zurück. Foto: Britta Pedersen/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The ARD chairmanship is gone, long live the RBB directorship. One day after Patricia Schlesinger, director of the two-country broadcaster, announced her resignation from the post of ARD chairwoman (or had it announced in the “Tagesschau”), however, there are increasing numbers of voices saying that even at the head of the transmitter on Berlin’s Masurenallee a change must take place. At least a break for the boss.

The allegations against Schlesinger were too great: compliance violations, nepotism, wasteful use of the fees payers’ contributions, including the construction of the new digital media house of the RBB. In particular, the accusation that contributions were wasted led to great concern within the ARD grandees and now caused Schlesinger’s chair to fall.

Even if the public prosecutor’s office has not started any investigations against the director of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg – many are asking themselves: why should Berlin/Brandenburg continue, which is obviously intolerable for the big ARD?

The first reaction of the German Association of Journalists (DJV) after Schlesinger’s resignation on Thursday evening went in this direction. “It is correct that Ms. Schlesinger averted damage from ARD. Her resignation does not change the need to fully clarify the allegations against her,” said DJV national chairman Frank Überall.

It also depends on whether she can continue to head the RBB. “The journalists in public service broadcasting need a leader at their head,” says Überall, “who can concentrate on securing the future of the broadcasters in the media business and who does not have to constantly deal with allegations about their own conduct of office.” Whether Ms. Schlesinger this If the challenge has grown, you should examine it self-critically.

ver.di also welcomed Schlesinger’s resignation from the ARD presidency. This will avert further damage to public broadcasting, its employees and the program mandate, said ver.di regional director for Berlin-Brandenburg, Frank Wolf, on Friday in Berlin.

On Friday afternoon it was announced that the RBB Broadcasting Council is expected to meet again on Monday for another special session due to ongoing allegations against director Patricia Schlesinger. The Chair of the Broadcasting Council, Friederike von Kirchbach, has invited the committee to a non-public special session on Monday at 4 p.m.

“Because of the ongoing pressure on director Schlesinger at the RBB leadership even after the withdrawal from the ARD leadership, we have to agree on whether the trust of the council in Schlesinger as RBB boss is still given,” von Kirchbach gave as the reason.

Jan Redmann, CDU parliamentary group leader in Brandenburg, wonders “why Ms. Schlesinger is no longer acceptable for ARD – but should continue to be acceptable for RBB”. The educational process that she helped set up was far too long-term. The RBB cannot wait until the beginning of October for the test results to be available. “The damage is already immense and is getting worse every day.”

Schlesinger had to answer the question for herself whether she – in view of the partly undisputed allegations – thought she could serve as RBB director for almost another five years, given the huge challenges that the broadcaster was facing. “I have doubts that she still has the authority to do this given the current situation,” Redmann told the Tagesspiegel.

Alexander King, media policy spokesman for the left in the Berlin House of Representatives, does not go quite as far. “After her resignation from the ARD chairmanship, it is hard to imagine that Patricia Schlesinger can remain director of the RBB permanently. It would be best for the RBB, the employees and the public broadcaster as a whole and in the interests of clarification if Ms. Schlesinger would at least let her office rest,” says the politician.

He also repeated his demand “that we arrange a debate in the media committee about the consequences of the Schlesinger case immediately after the summer break. The trust of viewers and contributors in public service broadcasting must not be further jeopardized.”

Tabea Rößner, who sits in the Bundestag for the Greens and heads the Digital Committee, has refrained from calling for her resignation: “Even if the allegations have not yet been clarified, Patricia Schlesinger is resigning from the ARD presidency. That deserves respect. In doing so, it averts further damage to ARD and public broadcasting. Now it must continue to be a matter of reforming public broadcasting and making it fit for the future.”

Petra Budke, chairwoman of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group in the Brandenburg state parliament, believes that “the allegations against Patricia Schlesinger weigh heavily and must be fully clarified. However, they not only affect the interests of the ARD, but also particularly the interests of the RBB.” The broadcaster has already suffered a great deal from the public discussion.

“If Patricia Schlesinger wants to avert further damage from RBB, then the next step must follow: resignation from the office of director,” demands the Green politician and complains that Schlesinger did not accept the invitation to the special session of the Brandenburg main committee.

The head of the board of directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf, and Friederike von Kirchbach, chairwoman of the broadcasting council, also did not appear. “A director has a great responsibility to create transparency about the use of funds.”

The state parliament in Potsdam is expected to deal with the allegations against Schlesinger again in a special session. Committee chief Daniel Keller (SPD) told dpa on Friday that he had suggested to the main committee members that a special meeting be convened on August 16.

Brandenburg currently has the legal supervision of the RBB. In addition to Schlesinger, the heads of the administrative and broadcasting board of the public broadcaster are also to be invited. At the new special session, they also want to talk about the answers that the broadcaster and the board of directors have meanwhile sent back to a list of questions from the committee, says Keller.