The public broadcasters had submitted constitutional complaints about a blockade by Saxony-Anhalt about the broadcast contribution. Now there is a decision.
Karlsruhe – Well then: The radio license fee rises temporarily to 18.36 euros per month. The Federal Constitutional Court ordered this in a ruling published on Thursday retrospectively from July 20 until a new state treaty regulation came into force. The state of Saxony-Anhalt had blocked the increase of 86 cents, the Karlsruhe judges assessed this as a violation of the freedom of broadcasting enshrined in the Basic Law.
For public broadcasters, the radio license fee is the main source of income. It has been charged per apartment since 2013 and was most recently 17.50 euros per month. At the turn of the year it should have risen to 18.36 euros. The independent commission KEF has determined the need. It would have been the first increase since 2009. A financial gap of 1.5 billion euros should be closed between 2021 and 2024. In order for the negotiated state treaty to come into force, however, the approval of Saxony-Anhalt is missing.
Constitutional Court increases radio license fee – criticism of Saxony-Anhalt
The state’s prime minister, Reiner Haseloff (CDU *), withdrew the bill on December 8 before the vote in the state parliament because it became apparent that his party – unlike the coalition partners SPD * and Greens * – would not support the increase. And the head of government did not want to make common cause with the AfD, which is known as a critic of public service broadcasting. But because all 16 state parliaments have to agree, the increase is blocked.
In times of “increased complex information volume on the one hand and one-sided presentations, filter bubbles, fake news, deep fakes on the other,” the importance of contribution-financed public broadcasting is growing, the First Senate decided with the resolution of July 20 that has now been published. The broadcasters should present reality in an undistorted manner through “authentic, carefully researched information that distinguishes facts and opinions” and not focus on the sensational.
“Violation of the freedom of broadcasting” – the license fee is 86 cents more expensive per month
The legislature is responsible that the financial requirements for the tasks are given. “If a country does not fulfill its co-guarantee obligation and thereby the fulfillment of the fundamental right to funding becomes impossible, this already constitutes a violation of the freedom of broadcasting.” The Federal Constitutional Court can determine who will enforce its decisions. According to the Federal Constitutional Court Act, it can also regulate the manner of enforcement in individual cases.
The broadcasters ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio saw their freedom to broadcast as violated and sued in Karlsruhe. The highest constitutional judges in Germany rejected urgent motions shortly before Christmas because they were not justified well enough. Her constitutional complaints were also “neither obviously inadmissible nor obviously unfounded,” the court said at the time. However, there was no reason to intervene immediately.
The The decision of the Constitutional Court can be read here. (dpa) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.