[DE] German media regulators adopt simpler notification procedure during coronavirus crisis

IRIS 2020-5:1/20

Dr. Jörg Ukrow

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

On 20 March 2020, the Direktorenkonferenz der Medienanstalten (Conference of Regional Media Authority Directors - DLM) agreed on a pragmatic notification procedure for the live streaming of cultural and religious events and educational programmes during the coronavirus crisis after the competent state authorities in Germany ordered a shutdown aimed at combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In view of the cancellation of all cultural and religious events and the closure of educational institutions under state measures taken to fight the coronavirus, the live streaming of cultural and religious events and educational programmes has become more important. Some live streams may be categorised as a form of broadcasting and as such, in principle, require a licence according to the current German Rundfunkstaatsvertrag (Inter-State Broadcasting Agreement).

The regional media authorities have therefore decided that, initially until 19 April 2020, streaming related to these domaines can be provided without the need to follow any complicated procedures. Following the cancellation of all social gatherings such as concerts, religious services and training courses, they believe that live broadcasts are an appropriate means of enabling people to continue participating in social, cultural and religious life at home. They have therefore adopted a simplified notification procedure for live streams that require a broadcasting licence as a pragmatic solution for ensuring that such services can be provided at short notice. The current substantive rules, in particular those concerning the protection of human dignity, young people and consumers, and journalistic due diligence obligations must continue to be strictly followed despite the relaxed notification requirements, since the media authorities consider that reliable information is especially important in times of crisis.



This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.