New Rules for Platforms: Draft Media Convention Agreed


The State Broadcasting Treaty, which has been in force since 1991, is to be replaced by a new Media State Treaty. At their conference in Berlin, the prime ministers took a decision on a draft treaty on Thursday. The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) spoke in a subsequent press conference of a "milestone". Unlike in the past, the rulebook should also increasingly cover Internet platforms that provide media content and do not even produce it.

The background of the new contract is the digital transformation with new offers on the Internet. In future, the state treaty will also apply to so-called intermediaries, platforms and user interfaces. Essentially, it refers to Internet platforms that provide media content. These can be live streaming platforms or video portals.

The Media State Treaty is not concerned with the amount of the broadcasting fee, which each household pays monthly. This is stipulated in another state treaty.

The previous State Broadcasting Treaty had originally focused on the description and rules for the dual broadcasting system – ie with private and public radio and television stations. In the meantime, there have been several adjustments through the internet and local offers.

With the resolution on Thursday, the contract does not enter into force. First, the diets must be informed and the text submitted to the European Commission. The contract could be signed in the spring. It could then come into effect by September 2020. This date is determined by the timetable resulting from the implementation of the requirements of a European Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) which aligns the standards in European countries.

According to earlier drafts, the details of the Media State Treaty include: Services such as smart TVs are designed to ensure that media content with added social value is easy to find and is not lost in the crowd. Criteria can be journalistic news content and share of regional coverage.

The definition of broadcasting should also be redrafted according to the drafting of the new state treaty. The hurdles for licensing procedures to be able to operate broadcasting are set to drop. This should promote creative people and reduce bureaucracy. So far, it may be that even the smallest live streamers on the Internet need a license like larger private broadcasters. If on average less than 20,000 users use an offer at the same time, the licensing rules should disappear.

Dreyer emphasized that the consumer could in the future rely on the fact that there is a prohibition of discrimination. Thus he could rely on the fact that certain media content is not excluded in the network. In addition, creatives have far fewer hurdles to make radio.

The preparation of the new state treaty was preceded by a lengthy procedure. Many different sides spoke and submitted comments. The digital association Bitkom, for example, stumbled upon the fact that certain content should be easy to find in the future. A "privileged" findability would just not protect the diversity of opinion, said Susanne Dehmel as a member of the Bitkom management. "On the contrary, it means that a few vendors are favored while the content of many other vendors is discriminated against."

Margit Stumpp, media spokeswoman for the Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag, said on Thursday: "It is high time that the Media State Treaty finally created a media law basis to regulate the major online platforms such as Google, Facebook and YouTube . "

The associations of newspaper publishers (BDZV) and magazine publishers (VDZ) welcomed the fact that the federal states wanted to protect digital press offers against disability and discrimination for the first time. At the same time they warned against a supervision of the state media authorities on journalistic-editorial telemedia.


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