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Organisation of self-regulation

die medienanstalten (The media authorities)
Based in:
Berlin, Germany
Type of organisation:
Geographical scope:
Content-related scope:
all media
Related areas:
youth protection

The 14 media authorities in Germany are in charge of licensing and controlling as well as structuring and promoting commercial radio and television in Germany. Commercial broadcasting in Germany started in the mid-1980s. The road to the dual broadcasting system in Germany under which public-service broadcasting and commercial broadcasting co-exist alongside was paved by the 1987 Interstate Broadcasting Treaty which has since been repeatedly amended.

Under the German Constitution, broadcasting - be it provided by public-service broadcasters or commercial service providers - is controlled by the German states. As a consequence, commercial broadcasting is organised and controlled by society on the basis of state media legislation. Commercial radio and commercial television broadcasters have to fulfil the requirements on content as specified in these laws while the independent media authorities of the states ensure that the provisions are adhered to. As regards telemedia, in particular the internet, the media authorities are responsible for ensuring that specific requirements are met, for instance in relation to the protection of minors in the media.

For a great number of issues relating to broadcasting, rules applicable across Germany as a whole are necessary, e.g. for licensing and supervising nationally-operated services. The 14 media authorities therefore cooperate in different decision-taking councils and commissions coordinating and aligning matters on a national level.

The joint management office of the media authorities is located in Berlin. It coordinates the day-to-day business of the decision-taking councils and commissions of the state media authorities.

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Available on the website since March 04, 2009