FDP wants modern and lean public broadcasting


The FDP wants to call for a curtailment of public broadcasting and a lowering of the broadcasting fee in the federal election campaign. “Public service broadcasting needs order and structural reform,” says an amendment to the election manifesto that the FDP party congress accepted with a narrow majority on Saturday evening. “We Free Democrats want a more modern and leaner public service broadcaster, which should primarily concentrate on news, culture, political education and documentaries. We want to lower the broadcasting fee.”

In vain, FDP General Secretary Volker Wissing appealed to the delegates to reject the application. It was accepted by 185 votes to 179. It goes on to say: “The number of television and radio channels operated by the broadcasters must be reduced. Unnecessary parallel offers are to be avoided.”

The FDP election program now also states that public broadcasting on the Internet should be limited to areas that are comparable to traditional broadcasting or that are directly related to it. A functioning dual media system needs balance. The proportionality between the broadcasting fee and competition must be preserved. “Competing with every Internet offer from private press and media companies is not the task of public service broadcasting. We want to strengthen the diversity of media and opinions.”

The industry association Bitkom also called for a “comprehensive structural reform at all levels” of public broadcasting with a view to digitization and changing media usage behavior. From 2025, the online presence is to be increased and the motto should be “high quality and relevance instead of fixed quotas”, focusing on education, information, culture and entertainment.

On the Internet, ARD and ZDF use more than 70 different channels with the content network “funk” to address people between 14 and 29 years of age in the areas of information, orientation and entertainment. funk is represented on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and its own website; since October 2020, the content of the youth program has also been available in the media libraries – free of advertising, financed by the radio license. The budget is around 45 million euros, two thirds from ZDF and one third from ARD.

According to Bitkom, the complete ban on advertising for video-on-demand and streaming offers from media libraries should be reconsidered in order to reduce the financing requirements from advertising income. By June, the federal states want to work out concrete reform steps on the mandate and structure of public broadcasting in Germany – the offers should increasingly also be able to be played on the Internet.

In December 2020, a bill to increase the broadcasting fee was blocked by the Saxony-Anhalt government after a coalition dispute lasting several weeks. The fee should be increased by 86 cents to 18.36 euros on January 1, 2021.


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