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News Open letter from DMR and RKM

Culture and education are the fuel for democracy!

In the debate about possible savings in public service broadcasting (PSB), the obligatory cultural and educational mandate of PSB is increasingly coming under fire.

The German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat, DMR) and the Rectors' Conference of German Universities of Music (Rektorenkonferenz der deutschen Musikhochschulen, RKM) have therefore addressed a joint open letter to the Minister-Presidents of the German Länder:

  1.  The existence of the 24 ensembles of the public broadcasting system must be secured in the long term. They should be able to develop their profiles and programmes independently, especially with regard to music education and new (concert) formats.
  2. The renowned ARD International Music Competition must be retained in its entirety in order to provide long-term and sustainable support for young international top musicians. The announced halving of ARD funding for the organisation of the competition from 2025 must be reversed.
  3. The cultural and educational mission of public broadcasting and the regionally diverse programme structure must be preserved and strengthened, not dismantled and levelled down, despite all efforts towards transformation and programme cooperation.

Prof. Christian Höppner, Secretary General of the German Music Council, comments: "Culture in public broadcasting is not a 'nice to have' or a luxury good and therefore not negotiable - culture is the foundation of our society! If the binding obligations of the public broadcasters are now increasingly called into question and the wrong course is set, there is a risk of great damage to current and future cultural creation and cultural impoverishment in Germany. With the discontinuation of the ÖRR's programmes, a key to social cohesion and participation in cultural life for all will be lost. Especially in times of a shift to the right and multiple global crises, this social cohesion is more important than ever as an effective fuel for democracy. Public service broadcasters, in cooperation with policy-makers, have a responsibility to ensure that public service broadcasting can develop this social impact, its public value, by fulfilling its programming mandate. It is high time for a clear commitment!

Prof Christian Fischer, Chairman of the Rectors' Conference of German Universities of Music, said: "In the past, the highest courts have repeatedly stated that the cultural and educational mission of public broadcasting is of paramount importance. Of course, this also includes the maintenance of the broadcaster's own orchestras, which has been justified by the academic service of the Bundestag, among others. It seems that those responsible in politics and in the commissions are neither aware of the historical significance nor of the current merits of the ÖRR's orchestras, e.g. in the areas of contemporary music or music education. And the fact that the ARD Music Competition, which is highly regarded in the international classical music scene as the most important multi-sport international music competition - comparable to the Berlinale in the film world or the Wimbledon tournament in the tennis world - has recently become a target for 'savings potential' in the ARD, can only be an oversight due to ignorance, which must be corrected as a matter of urgency!

The Rectors' Conference of German Music Universities in the HRK represents the 24 state music universities in Germany. It is a member of the German Music Council.

Berlin, 21 February 2024


German Music Council
Prof. Christian Höppner
+49 (0) 30 308810 10

Rectors' Conference of German Music Universities
Prof. Christian Fischer
+49 (0) 7425 9491 12

Press contact
Dr Anna Vogt
+49 (0) 30 308810 20