Public broadcasters demand that the public broadcasting tax will be raised from 17.50 to 21.00 Euro per month before 2019. They argue with a straight face that this was the only way they could ‘save’ the targeted 2.2 billion Euro until 2024.
The annual budget of German public broadcasters is the largest in the world and amounts to about 8 billion Euro a year.
News blog FAZ.net reports that the heads of the three umbrella agencies responsible for various TV channels, radio stations and websites are planning to formally submit their proposal for the hike in September to the leaders of the German states. The hike is expected to come in steps of about 2% tax raises per year.
Conservative party AfD objects to the proposal because they don’t view German public broadcasting as honest and balanced anyway. The problem, according to AfD, is that the controlling council, the Rundfunkrat, is composed of politicians from larger, more powerful political parties.
Head of the broadcasting commission, called Rundfunkkommission, is Malu Dreyer of left-wing party SPD, who also holds the offices speaker of the upper house of the parliament, prime minister of state Rhineland-Palatinate and head of the administrative council of ZDF. ZDF is not only a large public TV channel but one of the before mentioned three government agencies that constitute German public broadcasting.
Since 2013 AfD have asked for and continue to demand the thorough abolition of the tax.
What is particularly troubling about German public broadcasting is that they viciously protect their copyrights. While private companies in the English-speaking world give away their news material the moment after broadcasting and people are happy to quote public figure on YouTube, Facebook and twitter, videos the production of which is paid by tax payers are technically and legally protected. You hardly find videos of Merkel speaking German on the internet. As a consequence the opposition cannot prove any point. Even the use of logos and images are a big deal. This is all for the purpose of stifling public debate and it works a charm.