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A broadcaster , also known colloquially as a radio broadcaster , offers the general public a radio or television program for which it is responsible for the content (Section 2 (2) No. 14 RStV ). Generally speaking, one speaks of a radio station or a television station .

A distinction is made between public broadcasters and private broadcasters. The private can be divided into commercial and non-commercial . From a legal point of view, the public broadcasters include both independent public broadcasters organized outside the state and state broadcasters. Domestic state broadcasting is not permitted in Germany under the application of the Basic Law . Most countries in the European Union now have a dual broadcasting system .



The legal basis for all broadcasters in Germany is the State Broadcasting Treaty. In Section I (§§ 1 to 10) it contains general regulations that apply to public and private, nationwide, nationally and locally or regionally broadcast broadcasts. Section II (sections 11 to 19a) only applies to public law, section III. Section (§§ 20 to 46a) only for private broadcasting; the VI. Section (Sections 54 to 61) contains the content-related requirements for telemedia ( Section 1 (4 ) TMG ), which are addressed to the general public. In addition, state broadcasting laws regulate the legal relationships of the state broadcasting corporations that work together on the basis of the ARD State Treaty , and state media laws regulate further details for private broadcasters. Insofar as several federal states have set up a joint broadcasting company, the corresponding state broadcasting law is contained in a so-called state treaty of the states involved, which has been given the force of law through the approval decision or law of the state parliaments involved; this applies z. B. for the North German Broadcasting Corporation ( NDR ). There are also state media laws in the form of a state treaty, namely in the states of Berlin and Brandenburg as well as in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein , whereby the state treaty between the states of Berlin and Brandenburg also includes the state broadcasting law for the RBB . All states of the Federal Republic of Germany have signed the ZDF State Treaty , which regulates the legal relationships of ZDF and the Deutschlandradio State Treaty with the provisions for Deutschlandradio .

The dual broadcasting system of public and private broadcasters was first introduced in 1984 in western Germany. The radio of the GDR (radio) and the television of the GDR were state institutions.

Public legal radio

According to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court, the public service broadcasters are directly entrusted by the Basic Law to provide basic radio and television services. Your basic service mandate is - regardless of the simple legal arrangement in §§ 11 ff. RStV - an integral part of the serving freedom of broadcasting. They are operated in the legal form of an institution under public law and are also called broadcasters . They include the state broadcasting corporations ( ARD ) and the nationwide broadcasting ZDF, which is not supported by the federal government, but by all German federal states. The only exception is Deutschlandradio, which was established as a public corporation . "Members of the corporation are the state broadcasting corporations and the Second German Television (ZDF), which are part of the working group of the public broadcasters of the Federal Republic of Germany (ARD). (Section 1 (1) sentence 2 DLR-StV) Deutsche Welle has a special role . It organizes so-called international broadcasting and has no service mandate for the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany ( Section 3 (1) DWG ).

The broadcasters have the following bodies :

  • the artistic director, the executive body , which makes important personnel, structural and program decisions; the directorate at Radio Bremen , previously a collegial executive body, was replaced in 1999 by an artistic director. The term Intendant comes from the early days of broadcasting in the Weimar Republic , when it was politically wanted to create a radio that was free of politics. People from the world of the theater were therefore often at the head of the institutions;
  • a control body which controls the decisions of the executive branch , advises or has a say in important decisions and provides a framework for the program. Depending on the institution , the organ is called Broadcasting Council , Hörfunkrat (Deutschlandradio) or TV Council (ZDF). Depending on the legal situation, different social groups are represented according to a fixed allocation key (e.g. trade unions, churches, artistic and economic associations). According to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court of March 25, 2014 on the ZDF State Treaty, the constitutionally necessary independence from the state of broadcasting is only ensured if a state-related member of the bodies is opposed to at least two non-state members;
  • some institutions also have a board of directors that makes organizational decisions that are not made either by the management of the institution alone or by the broadcasting council and, above all, has competences in economic matters of the institution.

The public service broadcasters are primarily financed by the broadcasting fee (§ 13 RStV), which from 2013 replaced the broadcasting fee levied by the owners of the corresponding receivers . In the private sector, the obligation to pay contributions is linked to owning an apartment (Section 2 RBeitrStV). In the non-private sector, broadcasting fees are levied from business establishment owners - graded according to the number of employees and registered vehicles (Section 5 RBeitrStV). To determine the amount of the broadcasting fee, the commission for determining the financial needs of the broadcasting corporations (KEF) determines the amount that the broadcasting corporations need for their program mandate, inventory protection and further development (§ 3 RFinStV), which is guaranteed according to the Federal Constitutional Court should. The state governments and the state parliaments determine the amount of the contribution on this basis (Section 7 (2) sentence 1 RFinStV). The broadcasting fee is collected in Germany by the fee service of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio, which has replaced the GEZ . In addition, the broadcasters generate income from advertising and sponsorship as well as other income; Income from telephone sweepstakes may not be generated (§ 13 RStV).

Broadcasting, especially public broadcasting, is obliged to ensure a variety and balance of content. Unlike the press, he does not enjoy so-called tendency protection . The jurisprudence has not yet recognized any internal freedom of broadcasting as a counterpart to internal freedom of the press .

Private broadcasting

Private broadcasters can be natural or legal persons , but also partnerships or other legal partnerships. Legal persons under private law are, for example, the GmbH or the stock corporation , but also the registered association (e.V.). Partnerships include, for example, the open trading company or the limited partnership , also in the form of a GmbH & Co. KG . Legal persons under public law can only be licensed as private broadcasters in exceptional cases and only if they are not subject to any state or municipal influence. As legal persons under public law, here are u. U. religious communities under public law or universities into consideration.

There is a special situation in Bavaria. The Bavarian Constitution (BV) permits broadcasting to be carried out exclusively under public responsibility and under public law. Nevertheless, private individuals in Bavaria are not excluded from broadcasting. The Bavarian Media Act (BayMG) opens private broadcasting activities subject to public-law functional reservation. Public responsibility and sponsorship under public law is exercised by the Bavarian State Center for New Media (BLM), which differs from the other state media authorities in Germany in this respect .


The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ( ORF ) is a foundation under public law .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. See also BVerfGE 97, 298 , 310.
  2. ↑ State Media Treaty 2013 .
  3. ↑ State Media Treaty (HSH) .
  4. Deutschlandradio-Staatsvertrag -DLR-StV of June 17, 1993.
  5. BVerfG, press release No. 9/1999 of January 22, 1999; on the unsuccessful constitutional complaint by Radio Bremen against the corresponding amendment law.
  6. BVerfG, judgment of March 25, 2014, Az. 1 BvF 1/11, 1 BvF 4/11, full text , Rn. 51.
  7. RBeitrStV .
  8. RFinStV .
  9. See BVerfGE 90, 60 - First broadcasting license fee judgment.
  10. See Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem : The Two Faces of Press Freedom , ZRP 2006, 29.
  11. cf. Roland Bornemann / Christian von Coelln / Stefan Hepach / Gero Himmelsbach , Nikolaus Lörz: Bavarian Media Act , loose-leaf commentary , as of March 2014, Art. 24 Rn. 18 ff.
  12. Bernd Holnagel / Babette Kibele, in Gerald Spindler / Fabian Schuster: Law of Electronic Media , 2nd Edition 2011, RStV § 20a Rn. 12.
  13. Herbert Bethge : The constitutional status of the Bavarian State Center for New Media (BLM) , Munich, 2nd edition 2011, p. 36 ff.