Friedhelm Klinkhammer, 1944, lawyer. From 1975 to 2008, he was an employee of the North German Radio Broadcasting (NDR) and from time to time occupied the post of the chairman of the General Staff Council of the North German Radio Broadcasting and the United Trade Union of Workers in the public service sector, as well as an employee of the Directorate of the Radio Station.
Volker Breutigam, 1941, editor. From 1975 to 1996, he was an employee of the North German Radio Broadcasting (NDR). At first, starting from 1992, he worked in the Editorial Office of the Culture Department for N3 in the Tagesschau TV program. Then he became a teacher at Furen Catholic University, Taiwan.
RT Editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan in the RT DE hardware room. © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
Secret service agents and ex-politicians who work for media regulators are keen to suppress the German-language channel RT DE, while German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock blindly springs to their aid. Apparently, the only truth is always what the German government says it is.
During her official visit to Moscow in January, Foreign Minister Baerbock (Green Party) again proved that she is unable to keep her trap shut when needed. Her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, speaking at a joint media conference, highlighted that, to date, the key challenges in bilateral relations are the difficulties over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the situation around Russian TV channel RT DE, which was taken off a satellite broadcasting service less than a week after its launch in December. Its channel was previously blocked by US tech giant YouTube.
Baerbock’s response on the gas supply issue by Russia was covered extensively by the ARD-aktuell news. However, Baerbock’s blather about RT DE didn’t make it to air. Instead, later that day, tagesschau.de gave Silvia Stöber a platform to spout half-truths about Russian competition, circumventing the media-regulator swamp altogether.
Commenting on the RT DE channel being taken off air, Baerbock said:
High Treason: As Bad As It Gets
The snippets of Baerbock’s phrases are full of an unspeakable German arrogance (“We are the best not only in ensuring peace and respect for human rights but also in complying with freedom of the press and freedom of speech”). At this point, it becomes clear that the Minister has lost touch with reality. In fact, our “clear constitution” does not ban state broadcasting stations, nor is there an absence of state “overstretch” regarding the fundamental freedoms of the press and expression. Just recently, German Federal States’ prime ministers have been “interfering” in public broadcasting. They are planning legal “reforms” to it, including its mandate regarding programs.
Contrary to what Baerbock claimed, Germany has its own and foreign state- or state-funded channels. Deutsche Welle is registered as a public institution, but its costs are covered by the federal budget. All over the world, the channel broadcasts the ‘official’ image of Germany, as prescribed by the state. It would not be wrong to call Bundeswehr-TV (Eutelsat 21 B) a ‘state channel’. The foreign state channels that broadcast from, or rather for, Germany include: the American Forces Network or AFN (Wiesbaden); British Forces Broadcasting Service or BFBS (Paderborn-Sennelager); Arte France, two-thirds of which is owned by the French government; and the US government-funded radio station Radio Free Europe, also known as Radio Liberty.
Moreover, there have often been complaints about ARD-aktuell repeatedly violating the ‘generally acknowledged journalism ethics and standards’ prescribed by its state contract. Essentially, one could say that the editorial office is being transformed into a branch of government due to its refusal to carry out independent investigations, its filtering out of opposing political views, its suppression and distortion of facts. Further information can be found in the archives of Ständige Publikumskonferenz öffentlich-rechtlicher Medien e.V. Association.
Blocking Policy from the State Perspective
The decision-makers of German TV news service Tagesschau are completely lacking the long-standing understanding of the fact that “freedom always means the freedom to dissent,” or even basic decency. Further evidence of this can be found in the deliberate political move to block RT DE, a rival TV channel.
The Russian Union of Journalists, which has over 80,000 members, wrote to Baerbock ahead of her visit: “The shutdown of the RT DE channel violated the freedom of information.” This was not enough to get ARD-aktuell’s attention. Nor did Tagesschau & Co. report on the fact that the RT DE channel was blocked on December 22.
Only a month later, on January 18, Russophobe Sylvia Stöber was given the opportunity to express her opinion in a separate article for Tagesschau.de titled “Russian Foreign Channels: How RT Deutsch Wants to Get into Television.”
In terms of objectivity and factual analysis, there were clear contraindications (to borrow a medical term) to commissioning Stöber. In the gender-neutral variant of new German it is translated as “A fox was set to mind the geese.” She plucked out Paragraph 53 (3) of the new State Media Treaty, ripped up the rest from the roots, and spewed out the resulting half-digested mess.
This hard-to-stomach slop is then titled “Granting Licences to Federally-Oriented TV and Radio Broadcasters” and it reads:
So, state media regulators must not issue broadcast licences to all applicants that are set up as public organisations (referred to as ‘public and state institutions’). Stöber concludes:
This statement misinterprets the purpose of Paragraph 53. In reality, it is intended to prevent public broadcasters and state authorities from using a state regulator-issued licence to move into private or commercial broadcasting circles.
All this has absolutely nothing to do with the requirement that broadcasting should be kept at arm’s length from the state after the terrible experiences with Greater German Broadcasting under Nazi Germany. The concept of ‘non-state broadcasting’ does not appear in the agreement at all. It is merely an element of interpretation standardised by the Federal Constitutional Court.