The Media Authorities
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The Media Authorities
14 state media authorities exist in Germany. On behalf of the states, they work together on central tasks and projects under the umbrella brand die medienanstalten. This ensures that private radio and television stations throughout Germany are regulated in a uniform way and that the media authorities in European media policy speak with one voice.
The cooperation is conducted in 4 central commissions:
- Commission on Licensing and Supervision (Kommission für Zulassung und Aufsicht, ZAK)
- Conference of Chairpersons of the Decision Taking Councils (Gremienvorsitzendenkonferenz, GVK)
- Commission on Concentration in the Media (Kommission zur Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich, KEK)
- Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz, KJM)
The ZAK is responsible is responsible for licenses and supervision of nationwide private broadcasters, regulation of platforms, as well as development of digital broadcasting.
The GVK makes the selection decision for allocating platforms and assigning wireless transmission capacities to private providers.
The KEK monitors compliance with regulations for securing diversity of opinions in nationwide private television.
The KJM is the central point of contact for youth protection in private television and radio as well as the internet.
Another internal organ is the DLM: the Direktorenkonferenz der Landesmedienanstalten (Director’s Conference of the State Media Authorities). In general, preparation for setting the media policy course takes place here, for example on subjects such as law, technology/convergence, media competence, and Europe.
Germany has a dual broadcasting system, which includes public service broadcasting programmes and private television and radio channels. Private programmes such as RTL, Sat. 1, Klassik Radio, or Energy primarily finance themselves through advertising. The public broadcasting corporations ARD and ZDF receive money from broadcasting license fees.
Supervision is also regulated in different ways. Die Medienanstalten form the exclusive point of contact for private radio and television broadcasters.
Why 14 state media authorities?
According to constitutional law, broadcasting lies within the competence of the federal States. This also applies to broadcasting supervision. For this reason, nearly every German state has a state media authority. Berlin and Brandenburg as well as Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have joint media authorities.
The state media authorities work on the basis of the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement, the Youth Media Protection Agreement, and the state media laws. The cooperation is regulated in the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement. The tasks of the four commissions ZAK, KEK, KJM, and GVK are also described here. Internal cooperation at the administrative level is regulated in the ALM statute.