On the local broadcaster tv.berlin the rights have a platform similar to that of the Azerbaijani parliamentarians. What's behind this?

Hans-Georg Maaßen in the tv.berlin special on the refugee summit in 2023 Photo: tv.berlin/Youtube/Screenshot taz

Crude is putting it too mildly for this show. The private radio station of the metropolitan area tv.berlin is an institution in the capital with more than 30 years of history. According to the channel itself, the concept of the channel is “infotainment”, that is, offering a mix of information and entertainment. Specifically, the mix looks like this: teleshopping, from appliances to thermal blankets, an erotic late night or programs like “Fun&Drive”. The Swiss partner is the naturopathy channel QS24.tv, which provides esoteric content to the Berlin programme.

Just as Maaßen doesn't want to know anything about the right-wing firewall, tv.berlin doesn't know anything about it either.

Furthermore, for years content coming from an anti-democratic environment has been spread very frequently. The former head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen, who was now under surveillance by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the author Thilo Sarrazin, the Dresden bookseller Susanne Dagen, an important figure Among the guests were the New Right and the director of the right-wing Austrian television channel Auf 1, Stefan Magnet. The Berlin real estate agent Silke Schröder, who was present at the meeting in Potsdam revealed by Correctiv, had her own talk format until a few weeks ago.

Just as Maaßen doesn't want to know anything about the right-wing firewall, tv.berlin doesn't know anything about it either. Former Berlin Interior Senator Frank Henkel (CDU) interviewed him several times for tv.berlin. Maaßen was allowed to declare without opposition that his new Union of Values ​​party was neither reactionary nor ultraconservative.

Eye-catching reports about Azerbaijan

In January this year, Henkel asked Maaßen if he would also be invited to talk shows on German television. He replied: “No, the state media has not given me the opportunity yet.” In April, tv.berlin presenter Peter Brinkmann included the former secret service agent on the show again. Brinkmann ended the conversation with the words: “All the best for the Union of Values!”

Brinkmann is something of the station's eminence grise. The 79-year-old was already there when a family of Turkish origin took over tv.berlin in 2013. In 2015, the station made headlines because its program dedicated “unprecedented details” to Azerbaijan, as journalist Stefan Niggemeier reported: “The home page of tv.berlin has been looking for weeks as if the name change to TV.Baku was imminent.” Baku and Ankara are closely linked. And he had found a new axis towards Berlin.

He wrote in relation to the Azerbaijan scandal. Vice About the station: “It is not a big name in the country, but it is very active, known and well connected in the capital to this day. Interviews with Azerbaijani officials are still available on tv.berlin.” More recently, MP Azay Guliyev was asked about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in an interview conducted in English.

The Berlin station above all maintains the narrative spread by AfD & Co that in many traditional media it is no longer allowed to say everything. This was also the case when right-wing populist journalist Roland Tichy launched a new chat format on tv.berlin in February with Diether Dehm, former left-wing member of the Bundestag and enfant terrible of his party: “Streit-Bar.” . The show with “guests from all political camps” aimed to “send a signal against cancel culture,” the announcement said.

Many right-wing guests in talk format.

Dursun Yigit, program director of tv.berlin, is quoted on Tichy's blog: “In most talk formats, much of the political spectrum has no voice or individual guests are literally ridiculed among the group guests.” of discussion”. Next to Tichy and Dehm were Ulrich Vosgerau, one of the participants in the meeting with right-wing extremists in Potsdam in November 2023, right-wing police unionist Rainer Wendt and the editor-in-chief of Conspiracy Ideology. think pages, Jens Berger.

Frank Wahlig, former correspondent for the capital's ARD studio, is a long-time regular on tv.berlin's “Andruck”. After the right-wing Internet radio Kontraffunk, launched in 2022, hired him as an editor, he was still invited. When Kontrafunk launched in June 2022, Thuringia AfD leader Björn Höcke praised the project on Facebook as a “high-quality alternative to public broadcasting.” The founder of Internet radio is Burkhard Müller-Ullrich. In 2023 he published the book “Medienmärchen” from the “Exil” series, edited by Susanne Dagen. There she writes about public broadcasting: “The entire biotope of broadcasting has been annulled. Dirty, contaminated, irremediable.”

And does a regional broadcaster like tv.berlin also take this into account? In January 2024, there was a controversy between Wahlig and the capital correspondent of the “Andruck” program. Stuttgart newspaper, Norberto wallet. Wallet stated that Kontrafunk wanted to gradually introduce AfD ideas into public dialogue. Kontrafunk would “lend a hand.” Wahlig admitted that, unlike the “big media,” on the station “AfD deputies actually appear on certain topics, because where else would they appear?” said moderator Brinkmann: “We are pluralists.” . That's why we invite everyone.”

After this dispute, Wahlig was no longer invited to tv.berlin. So is there any kind of self-control at the station? The station does not comment on the matter. tv.berlin also leaves other questions unanswered, such as about media data or the assumption in the industry that interviewers or interviewees pay for individual broadcast slots.

The media authority of Berlin-Brandenburg, in response to a request from the TAZ, explained that no complaints have been received against tv.berlin for right-wing content. A spokeswoman says: “tv.berlin currently has sufficient local-regional content for broadcast as a local-regional programme.”

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