State Secretary for the Media: Modernization against excessive power of media companies…

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With a new law, the federal states want to combat possible media concentration. A working group within the Broadcasting Commission is now to develop proposals.

The federal states are striving for a more modern law against a possible concentration and superiority of individual media houses in Germany. In the Broadcasting Commission of the states, a working group has been set up to work out proposals, said Heike Raab, State Secretary for Media in Rhineland-Palatinate, to the German Press Agency.

The SPD politician emphasized: “We states have already tried a few times to touch the media concentration law. We consider it to be in urgent need of renovation”. She said that nothing had been changed significantly for about 20 years. “So far it has had a very TV-centered view.” In the meantime, however, there is a convergent media world – in other words, the convergence of media sectors.

Media policy is a state matter, Rhineland-Palatinate coordinates broadcasting affairs. In Germany, according to the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty, the independent state media authorities have the task of examining private TV companies for possible influence on public opinion, for example if they exceed a certain audience share. In this case, the media authorities can prohibit the admission of further TV programs. The broadcasters will then also have acquisitions in mind. The whole thing is intended to contribute to diversity of opinion in Germany.

In the new Media State Treaty, which lays down broadcasting rules, is to come into force soon and also includes platforms, a protocol declaration on media concentration is attached: “The states are committed to a future-proof media concentration law. This must be able to meet the real existing dangers for the diversity of opinion effectively. A reformed media concentration law must, in view of the opening of the media markets in recent years, “therefore take all media-relevant markets into account”.

The Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting (BLM) is also campaigning for a new media concentration law. “You can no longer tie diversity control and concentration control solely to television consumption”, BLM President Siegfried Schneider told dpa. Digitalization encompasses all media genres. He called for an overall market model that takes into account new supply and power structures and their significance for the formation and diversity of opinion.

In addition to the television market, Schneider emphasized that the relevance of all classic media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and the Internet must also be included in decisions. In addition, the influence of search engines, video platforms and social networks on the formation of opinion must also be considered. A research project on this topic is currently underway at the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation, in which the BLM is participating.

The current diversity report of the state media authorities also states: “In its current form, current law has no answers to the increasing opinion-forming relevance of platforms and global players.

DPA.

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