Constitutional Court increases license fee by 86 cents | free press


Karlsruhe (dpa) – The Federal Constitutional Court has provisionally entered into force the increase in the license fee blocked by Saxony-Anhalt.

According to the information from the Karlsruhe court, the state had violated the freedom of broadcasting guaranteed in the constitution because it had not agreed to the agreed state treaty. As long as there is no new regulation, Article 1 of the original regulation will apply retroactively from 20 July, according to the ruling of the Constitutional Court. The license fee increases by 86 cents per month to 18.36 euros. (Az. 1 BvR 2756/20 et al.)

For the public broadcaster, the radio license is the most important source of income. This has been charged per apartment since 2013 and was recently 17.50 euros per month. At the turn of the year it should have risen to 18.36 euros. The independent committee KEF has determined the need. It would be the first increase since 2009.

Between 2021 and 2024, a financial gap of 1.5 billion euros must be closed. However, for the negotiated state treaty to enter into force, the approval of Saxony-Anhalt is lacking.

The state’s prime minister, Reiner Haseloff of the CDU, withdrew the bill before the vote in the state parliament on December 8 because it became clear that his party – unlike coalition partners SPD and Greens – would not support the increase. And the head of government did not want to make a bad deal with the AfD, which is known as a critic of the public broadcaster. But because all 16 state parliaments have to agree, the increase is blocked.

In times of “increased complex information on the one hand and one-sided presentations, filter bubbles, fake news, deep falsifications on the other” the importance of contribution-funded public broadcasting is growing, the Senate concluded with its July 20 resolution, which has now been published. The broadcasters must present reality undistorted through “authentic, carefully researched information that distinguishes fact and opinion” and not focus on the sensational.

The legislator is responsible for giving the financial requirements for the tasks. “If a country does not fulfill its co-guarantee obligation and as a result it becomes impossible to fulfill the fundamental right to financing, that is already a violation of the freedom of broadcasting.”

The Federal Constitutional Court can determine who carries out its decisions. According to the Federal Constitutional Court Act, it can also regulate the mode of enforcement in individual cases.

The broadcasters ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio saw their broadcasting freedom violated and prosecuted in Karlsruhe. Germany’s top constitutional judges rejected urgent requests shortly before Christmas because they were not properly motivated. Her constitutional complaints were also “neither clearly inadmissible nor clearly unfounded,” the court said at the time. However, there was no reason to intervene immediately.