[Update] DAB+ und die Freien Radios in Sachsen | Offener Brief an die SLM

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Als Antwort auf das Angebot der sächsischen Medienanstalt vom 22. Oktober 2012 an unsere drei Mitgliedsradios in Sachsen für die künftige Verbreitung und Finanzierung der drei Freien Radios, haben wir als Bundesverband am 30. Oktober 2012 mit einem offenen Brief reagiert: 

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

mit Erstaunen haben wir ihr Angebot zum Umstieg der Freien Radios in Sachsen auf DAB+ zur Kenntnis genommen.

Sie haben auf Ihrer Pressekonferenz am 22.10.2012 in Dresden unseren Mitgliedsradios Radio Blau in Leipzig, Radio T in Chemnitz und coloRadio in Dresden angeboten, den Weg in die digitale Zukunft zu ebnen. Wir sind an einem gleichberechtigten Zugang zu neuen Möglichkeiten der Hörfunkverbreitung sehr interessiert. Jedoch ist der Verzicht auf UKW als Bedingung  des Vertragsabschlusses unzumutbar. Auch die Rücknahme der analogen Abschaltung an den Ausstieg des MDR zu koppeln,  ist aus unserer Sicht nicht ausreichend, da öffentlich-rechtliche Sender bereits in den letzten 10 Jahren ohne relevante HörerInnenschaft digital gesendet haben.

Da es aus unserer Sicht momentan nicht absehbar ist, ob sich der DAB+ Standard in Deutschland durchsetzen wird, ist ein derzeitiger Vertragsabschluss mit einem Verzicht auf die UKW-Frequenzen nicht vertretbar. Damit würde die Verbreitung auf dem mit Abstand meistgenutzten Verbreitungsweg UKW beendet. Das käme einer Abschaltung nahe, da die Akzeptanz bei den HörerInnen, sich digitale Endgeräte zu kaufen, unklar ist. Die drei sächsischen Freien Radios wären die ersten Radios bundesweit, die auf eine analoge Ausbreitung verzichten müssten. Dies würde de facto eine deutliche Einschränkung der Medienvielfalt in Sachsen bedeuten. Die im kommenden Sommer stattfindende Überprüfung des Einführungserfolges des digitalen Hörfunks durch die KEF (Kommission zur Ermittlung des Finanzbedarfs der Rundfunkanstalten) und die damit verbundene Entscheidung über die Mittelfreigabe ab 2015 unterstützen ebenfalls unsere Position.

Das Beispiel Bayern zeigt, dass sich die Testphase der Digitalisierung auch ohne Verzicht auf UKW durchführen läßt. Unsere beiden Mitgliedsradios Radio Z in Nürnberg und Radio Lora München werden seit 26. Oktober 2012 bzw. zum 31. November 2012 neben der UKW Verbreitung zusätzlich auf DAB+ ausgestrahlt. In Bayern war damit auch eine Erhöhung der Förderung der Ausstrahlungskosten verbunden.

Wir fordern die sächsische Medienanstalt und Verantwortliche der Medienregulierung hiermit erneut auf, die vollständigen Kosten der Ausstrahlungskosten für die analoge und digitale Verbreitung der Freien Radios zu übernehmen. Diese sind als nichtkommerzielle und zugangsoffene Medien besonders förderungswürdig bei der öffentlichen Finanzierung, um kulturelle Vielfalt, soziale Teilhabe und lokale Verankerung zu gewährleisten. Wir verweisen in diesem Zusammenhang auch auf die Erklärung des Ministerkommitees des Europarates vom 11. Februar 2009 „zur Rolle der Medien bei der Förderung des sozialen Zusammenhalts und des interkulturellen Dialogs“. In diesem Beschluss wurde hervorgehoben, dass Bürger- und Alternativmedien (Community Media) bei der Digitalisierung nicht benachteiligt werden dürfen.

Für Rückfragen stehen wir gern zur Verfügung.

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UPDATE

Presseveröffentlichungen:

Inzwischen haben sich auch die beiden europäischen Organisationen CMFE - Community Media Forum Europe, ein Netzwerk mit mehr als 100 ExpertInnen, sowie Bürger- und Alternativmedien aus 25 europäischen Ländern und die europäische Sektion des Weltverbandes Freier Radios AMARC Europe dazu geäußert. Bei beiden Organisationen ist der BFR Mitglied.
 
CMFE protest transition of community radio to DAB+ in Saxony, Germany, 29. November 2012 

Quelle: http://www.cmfe.eu/policy/cmfe-protest-transition-of-community-radio-to-dab-in-saxony-germany

The survival of community radio in the German state of Saxony is now on the CMFE agenda as the media authority of  of Saxony has proposed that the three community radiostations should relinquish their FM frequencies as a precondition to make a transition to digital radio DAB+. This would according to CMFE lead to the de-facto termination of community radio in Saxony, and will diminish media diversity significantly.

In this context CMFE point to the declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of February 11, 2009 regarding the “role of community media in promoting social cohesion and inter-cultural dialogue”, which stresses that “a sufficient number of frequencies, both in analogue and digital environments” should be allocated to community media. Also community media should “not (be) disadvantaged after the transition to the digital environment”.

On this occasion, CMFE exhorts the media regulating authority for the German state of Saxony and all similar media regulating authorities to fully cover the costs of analogue and digital diffusion of community radio stations. As non-commercial and open-access media, they are especially worthy of public funding in order to allow them to provide cultural diversity, social participation and localised media coverage.

Below the full text of the CMFE letter to the Sächsische Landesanstalt für privaten Rundfunk und neue Medien in Leipzig, Germany:

Subject: Transition of community radio stations in Saxony to DAB+

Nijmegen, 29 November 2012

Dear Madam or Sir,

We are surprised to hear from our member Bundesverband Freier Radios (BFR) about your recent proposal regarding the transition of community radio stations in the German state of Saxony to the digital radio format DAB+  ). At your press conference on October 22, 2012 in Dresden, you offered financial assistance to three community radio stations in the transition to digital radio. While we advocate equitable access to new radio broadcasting technologies, we must deem your demand to relinquish their FM frequencies as a precondition to be unacceptable.
 
As the success of digital radio in Germany and Europe is still uncertain, we don’t approve a package deal that links access to DAB+ to a renunciation of FM frequencies. This would lead to the de-facto termination of community radio in Saxony, and thus will diminish media diversity significantly.
 
In this context we point to the declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of February 11, 2009 regarding the “role of community media in promoting social cohesion and inter-cultural dialogue”, which stresses that “a sufficient number of frequencies, both in analogue and digital environments” should be allocated to community media. Also community media should “not (be) disadvantaged after the transition to the digital environment”.
 
On this occasion, we exhort the media regulating authority for the German state of Saxony and all similar media regulating authorities to fully cover the costs of analogue and digital diffusion of community radio stations. As non-commercial and open-access media, they are especially worthy of public funding in order to allow them to provide cultural diversity, social participation and localised media coverage.
 
We are at your disposal for further enquiries,
 
Yours sincerely,

Pieter de Wit
President CMFE

CMFE is a European network of policy experts, organizations and federations, which aim to support and present the role of Community Media on the European level, with a total of 104 members from 25 European countries: 47 Individual Members and 57 Organizational Members, of which 26 are (National) Federations.
 
CMFE has close links with Germany through our members, among which “Bundesverband Offene Kanäle” (BOK), “Bundesverband Bürger- und Ausbildungsmedien” (BVBAM) and "Bundesverband Freier Radios" (BFR).
 
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AMARC Europe an die SLM 30. November 2012

Bruxelles, November 30 2012

Sächsische Landesanstalt für privaten
    Rundfunk und neue Medien (SLM)
    Ferdinand-Lassalle-Straße 21
    04109 Leipzig  Deutchland

From: AMARC Europe, World Association of Community Broadcasters

Subject: Transition of community radio stations in Saxony to DAB+

    AMARC Europe, is the regional branch of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. Through service to members, networking and project implementation, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters,  brings together a network of more than 4,000 community radios, Federations and community media stakeholders in more than 130 countries. In Europe, the network has more than 200 members (radios and national radio Federations) in 22 countries. AMARC advocates for the right to communicate at the international, national and local levels and promotes the interests of the community radio movement as a fundamental aspect of media pluralism and democracy.

    Community radios are non-profit organizations promoting the freedom of speech, the democratic participation in all aspects of their operations and contribute to a plural media landscape. They are initiatives empowering the civil society, especially the minorities or other groups absent in the mainstream media. The community media sector is internationally recognized as a third media sector, next to the public and commercial media sector.

AMARC Europe received information by its member Bundesverband Freier Radios (BFR) about your recent offer regarding the transition of community radio stations in the German state of Saxony to the digital radio format DAB+.

According to these informations, at your press conference on October 22, 2012 in Dresden, you offered assistance to three community radio stations in the transition to digital radio at the condition to relinquish their FM frequencies in the short term.
Amarc Europe advocates for the equitable access to new radio broadcasting technologies. Thus, the organization considers your demand to relinquish their FM frequencies as a precondition to have access to digital frequencies, unacceptable and therefore demands this Authority to reconsider it.

The path for  radio digitalization, in Germany and Europe, is still long. The renunciation of the FM band as a condition to access to DAB+ frequencies is contrary of all radio policies currently in use at the European level (ex: France, Italy, UK etc..), where the process is led by a “switch over” procedure and not by a “switch off” logic.
While we acknowledge the efforts of this Authority to accompany community radio stations towards a digital environment, our organization is strongly concerned by the termination of community radios in the FM Band in Saxony and by the risk to significantly decrease media diversity and pluralism in the FM band.

AMARC Europe therefore exhort the Sächsische Landesanstalt für privaten Rundfunk und neue Medien (SLM) to fully cover the costs of analogue and digital broadcast for community radio stations and to regulate the radio digitalization process according to the European standards of:

The Council of Europe  ( Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the role of community media in the promotion of the social cohesion and the intercultural dialogue, adopted by the Council of Europe on 11 February 2009) which:
stresses that “a sufficient number of frequencies, both in analogue and digital environments“ should be allocated to community media, who should “not (be) disadvantaged after the transition to the digital environment“
stresses its Members States about the desirability of “(...) committing funds at national, regional and local level to support the sector, directly and indirectly, while duly taking into account competition aspects ”

The European Parliament (Resolution of 25 September 2008 of the European Parliament on Community Media in Europe (2008/2011 (INI)), which:
Stresses the role that may be played by local, regional and national (Regulatory) authorities in supporting and promoting community media by providing suitable infrastructure
Calls on Member States to make television and radio frequency spectrum available, both analogue and digital, bearing in mind that the service provided by community media is not to be assessed in terms of opportunity cost or justification of the cost of spectrum allocation but rather in the social value it represent

AMARC Europe strongly recommends that the Sächsische Landesanstalt für privaten Rundfunk und neue Medien (SLM), referring to the mentioned Declaration of the Council of Europe and the Resolution of the European Parliament, supports the Community Radio in Saxonia. We ask for a serious commitment to support the sector and its continuing delivery of social and economic benefit. AMARC Europe offers any help with expertise and welcomes its feedback to this letter.


Mariano Sanchez                         
AMARC Europe, President

Francesco Diasio
AMARC Europe, Secretary General