Dhe countries agree that the recently known incidents in several ARD stations “harm the entire public service broadcaster”. The careful, responsible and transparent use of contribution funds is a basis for the acceptance of public service broadcasting, according to the resolution that the broadcasting commission of the federal states passed unanimously at their meeting on Thursday. That is a clear signal.
Initiative by the CDU and CSU
According to Commission sources, the paper came about on the initiative of the CDU/CSU-governed states. The broadcasters, it says, especially the directors and the committees, are responsible for drawing the right conclusions from the events and taking action. The federal states are demanding “financially effective self-commitment declarations”, i.e. apparently binding commitments for savings and cost reductions. Two years ago, during the debate about increasing the license fee from 2021, the Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff (CDU), insisted on a “financially effective declaration of commitment” in order to be able to agree to the recommendation of the KEF fee commission. The broadcasters did not give the promise.
The Broadcasting Commission also requires that all public broadcasters review their supervisory and compliance structures. Each institution should report on the results and intended measures. There must be uniform, high standards for all public service broadcasting. The federal states also want to check the relevant legal provisions.
An important control point for the Broadcasting Commission is the broadcasting and administrative councils, which, according to the new Interstate Media Treaty, should be involved in financial control and quality management. It is intended that they set up quality and program guidelines and set standards for economical housekeeping. The Broadcasting Commission encourages the bodies to act “ambitiously”. The broadcasters are obliged to ensure that the committee offices are adequately equipped. Here, too, the federal states want to examine the legal framework.
The resolution stipulates that the directors of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio inform the Broadcasting Commission about the implementation of the provisions. Above all, reports on the review of the institution’s internal supervisory and compliance structures should be available.
With this unanimous decision, public service broadcasters in all 16 countries will be given more responsibility than before to make urgently needed changes and to intensify their savings efforts. In the next step, however, the Broadcasting Commission would also have to check whether the broadcasters are complying with the requirements.