In Germany, the federal states determine the framework and the mandate of public service broadcasting, but not the program content. Now there should be a reform of the broadcasting mandate.

The state broadcasting commission has reached an important intermediate step in the reform of the public service broadcasting mandate.

“We have agreed on changes in the 3rd State Media Treaty,” said the coordinator of the Broadcasting Commission and Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary for Media, Heike Raab, of the German Press Agency. The proposal will be presented to the prime ministers at their meeting on Thursday. If they should agree, the state parliaments will be included in the plans in a further step.

Media policy in Germany is a matter for the federal states. These define the framework of public service broadcasting. It is not about specific program content. That is in the hands of the broadcasters themselves – with a view to the constitutionally protected freedom of the press. The order is about what broadcasters should do and offer to the public and what the tasks of the bodies in the broadcasters are. The current reform is also not about the broadcasting fee of EUR 18.36 per month that households pay to finance public broadcasting.

Raab: profile of public broadcasters “sharpened”

Regarding the content of the agreement in the country commission, Raab said: “The profile of public service broadcasting will be sharpened by the reform.” An important point of discussion was the question of what status entertainment should have in the stations’ programming. The SPD politician said: “Entertainment remains an important part of the public service broadcaster’s mission, but it must correspond to the public service profile.”

In addition, according to the information, the committees in the stations will be strengthened with the reform. Raab also said: “The flexibilization should enable public broadcasting to be better adapted to changed media use and digital transformation.”