Too expensive, useless - these are obviously the reasons for ceasing satellite-transmission of first German TV channel 'ARD' to 5.000 German soldiers serving in North Afghanistan via Hotbird that would annually cost the network about 1 million euros ($1.4m) to the transmission providing company.
With April 1st -according to Bild-online-, and that's not an "April fools' day" for Bundeswehr personnel there, the catchy slogan:
"With ARD and ZDF, you always sit in front row!" will surely be changed to:
"Due to ARD's arrogance, German soldiers are now vomiting in front row!"
The public broadcasting network ARD -also called 'Das Erste' (= The First)-, a national joint channel chain of regional public channels NDR, RB, RBB, MDR, WDR, HR, SWR, SR, BR, that gets the lion's share of mandatory quarterly license fees of €53.94 (per household) has been rejecting subsidizing the German servicemen and -women who also pay for their unused TV and radio sets at home in Germany an estimated sum of 700.000 euros to the public network annually.
This black-out of 'first channel programs' also seems to have the subtle taste of being politically motivated.
Left-wing orientated regional broadcasters (like the biggest public TV organization "WDR - Westdeutscher Rundfunk") that often envy private broadcasters (SAT.1, RTL) for their good relationsships with the Bundeswehr are now obviously forcing the other ARD-members to pull the plug from satellite-transmission to the soldiers' TV screens in their Afghan HQ.
A pacifist move again against German military personnel? Against common people who also love to see favorite 'soaps' and other items of entertainment on 1st German channel in their spare-time on dangerous foreign soil, in Kunduz or Mazar-e-Sharif?
Are Chancellor Merkel and her Defense Minister, Thomas de Maizière, able to convice those 'anti-Bundeswehr hardliners' to change course? Almost four months ago, Merkel summoned in the responsible ARD program chief on this intention. Her political impact obviously was in vain.
The first official to cry at ARD's foul play now is the parliamentary 'ombudsman' to the German armed forces, Hellmut Koenigshaus.
Thumbs up for him!
Thumbs down for ARD!