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Germany: Regulatory Authorities

The German Press Council (Deutscher Presserat)

The freedom of the press anchored in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany includes the independence and freedom of information, of the expression of opinions and criticism. Publishers, editors and journalists must be aware of their responsibility to the public and their obligation for the standing of the press in their work. They perform their journalistic tasks to the best of their abilities and consciences, uninfluenced by personal interest and motives that have no connection to the matter in hand.

The journalistic principles of the German Press Council, which was founded in 1956, define the professional ethics of the press. This comprises the duty of maintaining the standing of the press and standing up for the freedom of the press within the framework of the constitution and the laws in line with the constitution.

German Press Council (Deutscher Presserat)
Fritschestr. 27/28, 10585 Berlin
Postal address: Postfach 100549, 10565 Berlin
Tel: 030- 367007- 0
Fax: 030- 367007- 20
E-Mail: info@‎presserat.de

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The media authorities (Die Medienanstalten)

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.

die medienanstalten
Friedrichstraße 60, 10117 Berlin
Postfach 08 02 63, 10002 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 / 2064690-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 2064690-99
Email: info(at)die-medienanstalten.de

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The research leading to this website has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement No. 244147.