How to Kill Public Broadcasting

German pubcasters are the BBC on steroids. Moneywise, at least. Their combined annual budget dwarfs the GNP of a couple of lesser UN-members. And even hardboiled tax collectors blush at the methods of their fee collecting agency GEZ.

Don’t get me wrong. Strong and independent public broadcasting is an important asset. As seen in the US, a beggar’s banquet of impoverished do-gooders cannot counterweight a fully commercialized brainwash attack. State controlled tv is a terrific tool for thriving populists, post-imperial imperialists, and media savy dictatorships (and definitely not an option).

Still. If you want to collect billions and billions of Euros for the greater good, a well aged argumentation line from the black and white days of the tube won’t do you any good. EU commissioners want to pull the plug (commercial broadcasters will see to that). And the German publishers are finally starting to see a problem with those hidden champion media empires. Because it’s not about here’s print, there’s tv anymore. On the web, all media cats are prey.

The last political fiddlings ended with some strange solutions like this. Yes, the pubcasters can put some their video assets onto the web. But after seven days, they have to be removed. Weird. Even weirder: there are paid deals between mega publishers and mega pubcasters on video syndication. Uhum. Excuse me. Looking at organizational structures of German pubcasters, the micro money passed from WAZ to WDR most likely won’t even cover the process cost. So it’s probably all very strategic. Or maybe just helpless. Redefining public broadcasting for a networked, digital media world it isn’t. (Because, more likely, it will look more like this.)

It’s not helping anyway. Will Münchner Erklärung, the Munich Declaration of the big wigs of German publishing, kill public broadcasting? Nope. We’re more likely talking about assisted suicide anway.

EU going bonkers

3 strikes an you are out. And out means: out of net access. Just let some lobby-infested politicos go wild in Brussles, and this is what you get.

I spare you the details, but in a nutshell, it goes like this. After having been blasted out of legislation, the lobbyists of Grand Old Media sneaked their hardliner ideas into some amendements of a telecom’s bill. To be sure, Grand Old Media has quite some problems with the not anymore so new but still very digital and increasingly networked media world.

Their solution is coming straight from the Orwellian textbook. We have to monitor everything. So that naughty consumer cannot do naughty things like copying naughty music videos. The emphasis is of course on everything. Which fuels this unholy alliance of “all consumers are thieves – if you don’t stop them”-media mavens and the “all citizens are terrorists – until proven innocent”-faction of right wing hardliners.

Yes, stealing is bad (please do remember: stealing from artists is bad, too). But the 3 strikes-law are populist rubbish. Excuse me. Are convicted shoplifters banned from shopping? Of course not.

But if somebody accuses me of infringing a copyright, I should be exiled from the net? Some Eurocrats do think so.

But so it happened: Pangloss’ take on the affair:

It’s not about 3 strikes anymore. Just about xraying all digital citizens.