Steffen hortler is a familiar name to many people in bad kissing. His main occupation is director of the foundation at the heiligenhof, his honorary occupation is city councillor and deputy federal chairman of the sudetendeutsche landsmannschaft (sudeten german association). Since the 10. July he holds another honorary post: member of the ZDF television council. The editorial team talked to the 47-year-old about his new job.
First of all, how is it that you are on the ZDF television council??
Steffen hortler: this has to do with my work for the sudetendeutsche landsmannschaft (sudeten german national association). I am the deputy chairman there at the federal level and the state chairman in bavaria. The television council includes representatives not only from the federal government and the states, but also from social organizations and associations such as churches and employers' associations. This goes right through society. There is also a place for the associations of displaced persons. The organizations are free to propose their own candidate – that was me for the bund der vertriebenen (association of expellees).
What is your task in the committee??
The television council is a decision-making body, similar to the bundestag. There are four plenary sessions a year, at which all 60 members are present. There are also six committees. Preliminary discussions take place there, and the results are then announced in the plenary session. I have two positions on the committees. I'm a member of the program committee for program direction and the
Finance, investment and technology committee. The latter involves, among other things, the preliminary discussion of the budget. In the program directorate, we monitor and supervise ZDF's programs. This includes not only the television program, but also, for example, the ZDF app or our partner programs such as 3sat, arte or kika. In addition, we take care of the input from the citizens – i.E. The complaints. The work is honorary, but is compensated with a compensation allowance. Apart from the meetings, I naturally have to keep myself informed about the programs and broadcasts. That's about an hour a day after work.
They have raised complaints. How often do the users of or send in their input??
In 2019, there were about 1000 submissions and 64 formal program complaints. If I break that down to the day and the users, I don't think it's particularly frequent. We all deal with the complaints. The input is first received by the intendant, who then confronts the responsible persons with it. The complainant then receives an answer from the intendant. If the complainant is not satisfied with the answer, the matter is passed on to us – the program committee program direction. So all in all, only a few program complaints make it to the plenary sessions. For example, that was once the case with jan bohmermann.
When I, as part of the younger generation, turn on the public broadcasters, I often encounter feel-good television. After the helene fischer show comes inga lindstrom and then florian silbereisen. Reports that appeal to the younger generation are often hidden at inappropriate times or in the media library. Are high ratings more important than quality??
I can make it very simple and say, look at the contract, it says exactly what ZDF has to do: it has to cover many different topics. And that's what we have to do differently than the private stations. We are not exclusively dependent on ratings like private broadcasters, state broadcasters, the lugenpresse or the rota. We pay attention to the balance. An example of how I perform my task: you have a bookstore in bad kissingen that sells only the latest bestsellers. People buy them naturally. But the task of the or is somewhat different. It has to be, even "bookers" to offer, which one had not bought in such a way. We must deliver a truly diversified offering. At ZDF, we strive – and the young formats such as "funk" show this or "neo – to address different target groups through the media they prefer. I am convinced that ZDF has already become much better and more modern in this respect. Another important point is the news. This can also be seen with the corona pandemic. The majority has informed itself about the pandemic in or. Seriousness is attributed here to the public service.
State broadcasting, the tabloid press and red radio are terms that the public broadcasters have been confronted with for some time now. There was no more critical reporting. How do you deal with such accusations??
The answer is clear: it is not like that. I say to such people: take a look at the program, there are so many examples. Journalism on ZDF is free, there is no state paternalism – we as the television council have to monitor that. Because we have a broad-based program, we automatically offer different opinions and points of view.
Critics liked the public law more or less shrink together. A good idea?
So the answer is quite clear: no, it's not a good idea. We must preserve diversity and good quality costs money .
Keyword broadcasting fee: do we need the contributions??
The radio contribution is necessary. The or must be financed. And how else is the financing supposed to work in order to continue to guarantee the freedom of the public broadcaster?? In addition, there is a lot that goes into a ten-minute report that is not immediately obvious. When they say we will do it cheap and cheaply , then quality is lost. But I would like to make sure. In addition, in some areas, such as sports, ZDF has set itself financial limits, for example when it comes to the broadcasting rights for soccer. And as far as the debate on increasing contributions is concerned, if I go to the cinema once or twice a quarter, then the money is also gone – and that for less programming.
What possibilities do you have as a representative of the displaced people in the television council: what can you achieve, how do you put your fingerprint on the program??
It's like 60 rates decide together. It will always be so that one must convince there. In a democracy it is proper to seek majorities. I can think of no better instrument. My function is to direct the attention of the council to the interests of the displaced persons and of eastern and central europe. The contributions in which it goes around the eastern neighbors, I will look at me completely exactly. During the corona pandemic, there has been little in the way of a look at our czech neighbors or eastern europe in general. But that's what you have to do, and you have to talk to one or the other editor about it. But I have not been at it long: in four years I will be able to say very concretely what I hope I have been able to achieve. The interview was conducted by johannes schlereth