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The list of experts who should reform ARD and ZDF

Public broadcasting is to be reformed – and a “Future Council” is to help media politicians in the federal states.

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The list of experts who should reform ARD and ZDF

Public broadcasting is to be reformed – and a “Future Council” is to help media politicians in the federal states. The broadcasting commission of the federal states will probably announce the composition of the expert panel in the coming week. The members should deal with the question of how ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio must be set up in future in order to be both sustainable and financially viable.

The media service "Medieninsider" published a list of candidates a few days ago. This list was apparently not final and could still change slightly. The SPD-led federal states (“A-states”) and the CDU/CSU-led states (“B-states”) will each appoint four to five members – however, not all seats have been filled, or there are still discussions about individual ones candidates. There is no official confirmation yet.

As far as is known, the A countries are sending into the race: Julia Jäkel, the former boss of Gruner Jahr, who already sits on a number of supervisory and advisory bodies (Google, Holtzbrinck, dpa). Maria Exner, former editor-in-chief of “Zeit Magazin”, who is building a center for journalism, the public sphere and democracy called Publix for the Schöpflin Foundation in Berlin.

Annika Sehl, Professor of Digital Journalism at the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich. And Mark D. Cole, Scientific Director of the Institute for European Media Law and Professor of Media Law at the University of Luxembourg.

The B-states, in turn, rely on the former federal constitutional judge and CDU politician Peter Michael Huber, who at times was also chairman of the Commission for Determining Concentration in the Media Sector (KEK). Roger de Weck, former editor-in-chief of “Zeit” and former general director of Swiss broadcasting, is also set.

It has not yet been clarified whether Johannes Beermann, also a member of the CDU and head of the Saxon State Chancellery between 2008 and 2014 and a member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank until the end of last year, can be included in the group. During his time in Saxony, he was a strong advocate of austerity measures for the public broadcasters. There is resistance to Beermann's appointment in the group of SPD states. According to reports, Anke Schäferkordt, the long-time boss of the RTL Group, sent a rejection. At least one position would still be vacant.

By the end of the year, the future council then appointed is to submit a report with recommendations to the broadcasting commission. The group of experts should be completely independent in its work, it is said - so it must then also agree on the chairmanship of the committee itself.

There is a risk that the Council for the Future will become a kind of show event, in which experts will make their mark with more or less innovative ideas for reform. On the other hand, there is a chance – and that was probably also the original idea – that the media policy debate about the task and structure of the public broadcasters will be revived. A challenge right at the beginning will be to agree on the exact objectives and approach.

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