There may not be any punishment here for producing awful television shows but if YOU get sassy and don’t pay your GEZ TV tax (or “mandatory fee,” as the tax collectors prefer to call it) you can go to jail.
I’m not making this up. All German households must shell out 17.50 euros ($20) a month to watch great entertainment like Traumshiff, Lindenstrasse and Tatort, Tatort, Tatort as well as be submitted to propagandistic-indoctrination-like nightly news programs à la the Tagesschau by those good old fashioned unelected and nameless state TV official folks over there at the ARD and the ZDF (exhale now). Or else.
A woman was freed from prison after a court in Chemnitz had admitted that they had kept her in custody for 61 days because of her refusal to pay the GEZ fees.
Regional state broadcaster MDR applied for an arrest warrant against Sieglinde Baumert in September 2015 in an attempt to force her to sign a statement about her assets, which she refused because, as she told “Die Welt” newspaper, “With my signature I would confirm the legality of the mandatory fees.”
“I feel patronized, I get the decision taken away from me about what I’m paying my money for.”