First there was the threat of an increase in broadcasting fees, now they could fall. In order to relieve consumers, the contribution in one federal state is to be frozen for the time being.
Hamburg – Consumers currently have to pay 18.36 euros in broadcasting fees per month. In the eyes of many, the contribution is clearly too high. However, those who withhold payment despite requests must expect high late fees. After an increase in the contribution had initially been discussed, consumers may soon be able to look forward to a reduction in fees – Saxony-Anhalt is even planning to freeze the contribution for two years.
Source: Commission for the Assessment of the Financial Needs of Broadcasting Corporations (KEF)
No increase in the broadcasting fee in Saxony-Anhalt in the next two years
Reiner Haseloff (CDU), Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister, stands by the broadcasting fees, but considers them privileged, as he told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. He himself sits on the board of directors of ZDF. It is important that the acceptance of consumers towards public broadcasters does not decline further. "My proposal is therefore: For two years, the broadcasting fee will not be increased, the Future Commission will present its proposals for reforms," Haseloff told the paper.
Although the core mission of public service broadcasters is to provide information, education, culture and advice, a large proportion of the fees paid by consumers are used for entertainment and administration. Prioritisation therefore needs to be adapted. "In addition, public broadcasters sometimes have a narrow corridor for opinions. This is another reason why we need a pluralistic media system with fair opportunities for private media providers as well," said the Prime Minister.
Country leaders oppose further increase in broadcasting fees from 2025
The current contribution period runs until the end of 2024. There are three different payment rhythms for settling the fees this year. By the end of the current period, the Commission will have to set a new broadcasting fee to determine the financial needs of broadcasters (KEF). Most recently, the fees were raised by 86 cents from 17.50 euros to 18.36 euros – against which Saxony-Anhalt was the only federal state to resist. However, the other heads of state also made it clear that they consider a further increase to be unacceptable.
With the broadcasting fee, the public broadcasters are intended to ensure independent and neutral reporting. © Marius Becker/dpa
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KEF boss holds out the prospect of a reduction in the broadcasting fee
According to a report by the news portal The Pioneer, WDR, the largest German state broadcaster of the ARD, has registered an increase of 1.09 euros per month with the KEF. The magazine cited sources in the station. On the other hand, Martin Detzel, the chairman of the KEF, expressed the possibility of a reduction in contributions in an interview with the FAZ about two weeks ago. According to KEF's preliminary estimates, the monthly contribution could fall by 50 cents to 17.86 euros instead of the current 18.36 euros. However, it remains to be seen whether this is also in line with the KEF's final recommendation for the period from 2025 onwards.
Some consumers can apply for a reduction in licence fees, including disabled people. An application is also possible retroactively. (tt)