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European media regulation

Activities of the media authorities in Brussels
European media policy is increasingly influencing media regulation in Germany. The German media authorities cooperate with other supervisory authorities on an international level and take an active stance on EU legislative proposals.

Media regulation in Germany is generally a matter under the competence of nation states – in Germany’s federal structure, the 16 Länder are the main political entity competent for the media. However, digitalisation, globalisation, convergent media systems and the increasing relevance of platforms and intermediaries for opinion-forming pose new, cross-border challenges for today's media regulation. Ensuring media plurality is an increasingly global task that does not stop at national borders.

This is why European legislation is increasingly shaping media policy and media regulation in Germany. Federal and Europe-wide laws guarantee transnational media regulation and thus address cross-border media offerings. 

The country of origin principle and the cooperation of independent regulators is at the heart of European media regulation.


Effective cooperation at the European level is becoming increasingly important. The German media authorities therefore work together closely with the regulatory authorities of other member states within the European Union. The Commissioner for European Affairs represents the interests of the Media Authorities at a European level. Currently, this function is held by Dr Tobias Schmid, Director of the Media Authority of North-Rhine Westphalia. In this role, he monitors developments in legislation and law enforcement at the European level and contributes the perspective of the media authorities in various forums.

The media authorities actively position themselves on proposed EU legislation, in particular by publishing position papers. This ensures that the media authorities speak with one voice at European level.

European Affairs Commissioner

European cooperation

The national media regulatory authorities of the EU member states and beyond cooperate at the European and international level in various forums and regularly exchange information on current topics and challenges.

The state media authorities participate in ERGA. The advisory body consists of the regulatory authorities of the 27 EU member states as well as relevant observers and has been supporting the European Commission in the standardised implementation and application of the AVMS Directive since 2014. With the active participation of the media authorities, the ERGA regularly prepares reports and position papers on current media policy issues.


EPRA is primarily dedicated to the informal exchange of experiences and supervisory practices of regulatory authorities in Europe. It comprises 52 regulatory authorities from 46 countries. Meetings are held every six months.


More about EPRA

The media authorities discuss their respective positions and strategies as well as possible cooperation on media regulation as part of the annual "Trimediale" series of events with the regulatory authorities in German-speaking countries and as part of the Tripartite with the French Arcom and the British Ofcom.


As part of the IWGAV, the media authorities exchange information with European sister authorities on the subject of age verification and support each other in compliance and implementation by the service providers concerned.


Joint Statement on Age Verification


The High-Level Group advises the EU Commission to ensure a coherent and complementary implementation of the DMA and other sectoral regulations. The group, which includes delegates from the ERGA, has a mandate of two years and meets at least once a year.


More about DMA

International Institute of Communications (IIC)

Every year, the media organisations exchange information with other regulatory institutions and the industry at IIC meetings.


More about IIC

European media regulation: What is the legal basis?

In addition to national regulations, the media authorities also act on the basis of EU and European legislation.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the basic set of rules for European media law. It coordinates the provision of audiovisual media services in the Member States and applies to traditional television programmes as well as video-on-demand services and video-sharing platforms. The directive was last amended in 2018 in order to adapt to changing market conditions and new challenges in the areas of consumer and youth protection, media diversity and combating hate speech.


The cornerstones of digital regulation are set out in the e-Commerce Directive, which is now more than 20 years old. Among other things, it contains regulations for commercial communication in the online sector.


The Digital Services Act (DSA) replaces parts of the E-Commerce Directive. It thus takes account of the changes that have occurred since it came into force. Together with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), it forms a new legal framework for digital services such as platforms and gatekeeper platforms. The aim is to create a secure digital space in Europe.

The Council of Europe Convention contains fundamental provisions for the cross-border distribution of media services. These provisions continue to be particularly effective in relation to non-EU states, even though the Convention, which was last amended in 2002, only takes limited account of media convergence.

The EMFA is intended to safeguard both media freedom and media pluralism and, among other things, guarantee the independence of media regulatory authorities. Under EMFA, the European cooperation between media regulators will evolve. In 2025, EMFA will with its entry into force dissolve ERGA and transform it into a new European Board for Media Services. This group will perform new tasks and integrate new ways to cooperate across borders when regulating the media.

The ordinance on political advertising will also expand the legal framework for audiovisual media services in future and is closely modelled on the DSA.