NewsPrice cap for broadcasting fee: ARD and ZDF are...

Price cap for broadcasting fee: ARD and ZDF are facing difficult times

Created: 09/11/2022, 12:08 p.m

Kritik am öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk - allen voran an der Tagesschau - übt CDU-Politiker Hans Georg-Maaßen./Ein Mann hält eine Fernbedienung vor einen Fernseher, auf dem die Tagesschau läuft.
Politicians are currently discussing the broadcasting fee. Should this be shortened, suspended or abolished, it would be a hard blow for ARD, ZDF and Co. © Marius Becker/dpa

There are currently calls from many quarters to cap the broadcasting fee. ARD, ZDF and Co. would then face financially difficult times.

Berlin – Food prices continue to rise, petrol and gas prices are skyrocketing and many people get scared and anxious at the thought of the next utility bill. Saving is currently not possible in German households.

While the government is trying to bring relief with the 9-euro ticket or the energy cost flat rate, there is now another idea in the room: the broadcasting fee should be capped. Good for the contributors, bad for ARD and ZDF – they would have to tighten their belts a lot.

Politicians demand intervention in the broadcasting fee – “freeze at the current level”

The broadcasting fee has long been a thorn in the side of many. Again and again, the fees and the public service broadcasting itself are the subject of criticism. The program, questionable spending and high salaries at management levels have made headlines in recent years. Especially since all of this is financed by consumers through the broadcasting fee. The ARD crime series Tatort is also repeatedly criticized.

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) is now demanding: “In this turning point, in which inflation is rising and all costs are exploding, we have to think about keeping broadcasting fees stable and freezing them at the current level.” far more drastic steps: France voted to abolish broadcasting fees.

Other sides meanwhile do not want to be satisfied with a freeze of the fees. They demand a suspension and a reduction in broadcasting fees. Schleswig-Holstein’s Finance Minister Monika Heinold (Greens) spoke out in favor of a temporary freeze on contributions. As a result, broadcasting fees should no longer be levied for the time being in order to relieve the burden on citizens. The taxpayers’ association, on the other hand, advocates a permanent reduction in fees.

Decision could get public broadcasting in trouble

An increase is not currently planned. The rates have risen three times since 2013: in 2013, 2015 and 2021. Baden-Württemberg welcomed the latest increase in broadcasting fees. It was said at the time that carefully researched, fact-based public broadcasting was important for a well-informed society.

No decision has yet been made as to what to do with the broadcasting fees. However, one thing is certain: ARD, ZDF and Co. could soon stumble financially. And that’s not all: The criticism and pressure on the public broadcasters because of the handling of the funds will continue to increase.

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