Wolf-Dieter Wolf, the chairman of the board of directors of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), who has come under criticism, is resigning from his position at the public broadcaster. Wolf announced this on Friday at the extraordinary meeting of the RBB Broadcasting Council, as the Tagesspiegel learned from reliable sources. In the meantime, his withdrawal has been confirmed by a communication from the Broadcasting Council.
Various allegations had been made in media reports against Wolf, but also against RBB director Patricia Schlesinger. Some of them relate to the construction of the RBB digital media house. Wolf was accused of having personal contacts play a role in hiring consultants. Until a few days ago, the real estate entrepreneur denied that there had been such contacts before the order was placed. On Tuesday, however, he had revised this at a special meeting of the board of directors. After looking at his calendar, he found that there had been a meeting beforehand in Mr. Branoner’s office, an RBB spokesman explained the new state of knowledge.
For Wolf-Dieter Wolf, head of the board of directors, the air had recently become increasingly thin. In the special meeting of the board of directors, he had already been asked to leave his office. However, he had refused this because he could not see any wrongdoing on his part. Wolf had read an affidavit at the meeting. He also emphasized that he had not protected anyone when the contract was awarded.
“All suspicions and allegations must be eliminated one and all. It is correct that an external law firm has now been brought in to do this. The Broadcasting Council will pay particular attention to ensuring that this law firm can carry out its investigations independently and comprehensively,” said Friederike von Kirchbach, Chairwoman of the rbb Broadcasting Council, on Friday after a non-public special meeting of the committee.
Kirchbach emphasized that there should be no pressure on employees who want to contribute to the investigation. “The management of rbb promised us exactly this today, we welcome that and support them in the process of processing,” said the chairwoman of the committee.
The allegations in the room relate, among other things, to an allegedly incorrect billing of official dinners at the director’s office and the employment of consultants for a real estate project, who are said to come from the environment of the head of the board of directors. Patricia Schlesinger and Wolf-Dieter Wolf have rejected the allegations against them.
Dieter Pienkny, chairman of the program committee and deputy chairman of the broadcasting council, also made it clear that broadcasters and the broadcasting council are behind the employees of the RBB. Due to the current reporting, they threatened to come under suspicion. “The program and those who make it must not be harmed, so clarity must be established quickly,” he said after the 90-minute session.
According to participants, the discussion at the special session of the Broadcasting Council was mostly “constructive and serious”. There was a “real debate” like there hadn’t been for a long time. The high expectations of the council members with regard to the examination of the allegations by an external law firm became clear. The first results are expected after four to six weeks.
On Friday, shortly before the meeting of the Broadcasting Council, the Brandenburg CDU parliamentary group leader Jan Redmann also raised the demand. With Wolf in office, the necessary clarification of the allegations “cannot work credibly,” the CDU politician told the Tagesspiegel. Rebmann is a member of the main committee, which also includes media issues.
Redmann had also recommended that the board of directors commission an external and independent review of the allegations. The law firm commissioned with this should “receive a comprehensive investigation order in order to be able to determine the facts surrounding the allegations made. The necessary powers include being able to look into the files and question RBB employees. In addition, this law firm would only have to report to the board of directors, but not to the directorship”.
The demand for a temporary withdrawal of Wolf from the office of the highest RBB controller also joined the German journalists’ association JVBB in a letter to the broadcasting council on Friday. “If the RBB and the public broadcaster as a whole are not to suffer irreparable damage, the Broadcasting Council, as the highest body of the RBB, must now act consistently and ensure that the allegations against the ARD chairwoman and RBB director Patricia Schlesinger are clarified. According to the DJV Berlin-JVBB, this includes the fact that Wolf-Dieter Wolf, the head of the administrative board, will leave his office until the allegations have been fully clarified,” says the letter, which is available to the Tagesspiegel.
The Brandenburg state parliament is now also becoming active in the dispute over the allegations against the RBB: At the request of the AfD parliamentary group, the main committee of the state parliament responsible for media policy is to meet for a special session on Tuesday, reports the Potsdamer Latest News (PNN). In addition to the State Chancellery, the Director General, who is accused of nepotism, and representatives of the broadcasting and administrative boards of the station should also be invited to the meeting, which formally still has to be decided by the Presidency of the State Parliament, as it takes place during the parliamentary summer break. It is hoped that this will create more transparency on the question of how the RBB wants to clarify the allegations, said the chairman of the committee, Daniel Keller (SPD), the newspaper. (with belt)