ARD boss: “People love what we do, everything”


The ARD will not accommodate the state policy in Saxony-Anhalt in the dispute over the amount of the radio fee. The said ARD chairman Tom Buhrow of the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. “I cannot and will not offer anything additional. We must not weigh the state parliaments for certain assurances.” Buhrow emphasized that each of the 18 ARD television and 67 radio programs was secured by state treaties. If politics wanted cuts, it would have to make concrete proposals itself. “And why is politics afraid to do that? Because our product is good. People love what we do and everything: the news, the culture, also the entertainment.”

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As of January 1, the broadcasting fee is expected to increase from EUR 17.50 to EUR 18.36. This has no majority in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt because the three largest parties, the CDU, AfD and the Left, are against it.

“Freedom of broadcasting is a great asset”

Buhrow declined additional savings decisions to make the contribution increase smaller. The public service broadcasters would have an important function especially in the Corona crisis. “You can only do all of this if you have sufficient resources.” If the state parliament refuses to increase the premium, Buhrow also considers a constitutional complaint conceivable. “I can’t rule that out because broadcasting freedom is such a valuable asset.” But he wanted to avoid such a confrontation and is now concentrating “full of persuasion”.

Tom Buhrow is director of Westdeutscher Rundfunk and has been the rotating ARD chair since the beginning of the year. Income from broadcasting contributions again amounted to around eight billion euros in 2019.

In March, the country heads jointly decided that the broadcasting fee should increase. Saxony-Anhalt was the only federal state to abstain.
The contribution has been made by everyone since 2013 “contributory owner” of an apartment, regardless of whether and how many radio devices are available. There is a radio fee per apartment. Last week, the state governments signed the state treaty to increase the radio contribution from 17.50 euros to 18.36 euros.

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