Germany’s massive public broadcasting media has a budget of €6.9 billion and 22,612 employees. The budget comes primarily from a licence fee which every household, company and public institution are required by law to pay. For an ordinary household the fee is currently €17.50 per month.
ARD logo since 2019. Public domain image
But over the years, criticism of unbalanced reporting has become increasingly loud. Many citizens would be happy to do away with the mandatory fees, citing onesidedness in ARD reporting.
Volunteers at ARD vote 92% Socialist, Communist or Green
By Die kalte Sonne
(Text translated, edited by P. Gosselin)
According to Wikipedia, Germany’s public broadcasting has a variety of tasks:
In addition to a basic service mandate and a legally defined program mandate, one of the other essential tasks of public service broadcasting is therefore to maintain political and economic independence.”
Thus, independence and distance from the state are supposed to be a fundamental principle by the publicly funded broadcasters. According to an article in Meedia. Volunteers were asked about their political preferences and the pendulum swung strongly in the direction of green and red. Even the flagship daily FAZ did an article on the topic.
Volunteers at ARD and Deutschland Radio were asked about their political preferences. According to the study, 57.1 percent of the volunteers said they would vote for the Greens, 23.4 percent for Die Linke (former communists) and about 11 percent for the SPD Socialists. The center-right CDU/CSU would get only 3% of the votes among ARD volunteers.”
Of course it would be wrong to conclude that mostly greens and communists would be covering stories if these volunteers were ever to come into the normal operation of the stations at some point. Normally journalists are supposed to be critical and independent despite their party preferences.
However, this is rarely the case. The topic of climate and energy is certainly one of them. The rare reports on, for example, the negative consequences of the transition to renewable energies, are more the exception rather than the rule. Will such exceptions become even rarer in the future? It looks more as if the homogenization of reporting on the topic of climate is making great strides.