3. Broadcasting judgment - 3. Rundfunk-Urteil

The 3rd broadcast judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of June 16, 1981 marks the third in a series of twelve judgments of the Federal Constitutional Court on broadcasting freedom in German jurisprudence . The central concept of this judgment is the “Freie Rundfunk AG in formation” (FRAG). The judgment is considered a milestone on the way to a dual broadcasting system . (Reference: BVerfGE 57, 295ff-FRAG).


In 1964 the Saarland was the first and only federal state to create the legal possibilities for the organization of private radio broadcasts ( radio and television ). Thereupon the "Freie Rundfunk Aktiengesellschaft" (FRAG) applied for a license required by this law. This application was rejected by the state government in order to protect Saarland broadcasting . If private broadcasters were to be approved, the loss of advertising revenue to be expected would result in serious existential problems, according to the state government's justification for rejection.

Summary of the judgment

The case was suspended by the administrative court of the Saarland and submitted to the Federal Constitutional Court. This decided that the regulations objected to by the administrative court were incompatible with the freedom of broadcasting , as they did not contain any constitutional regulation of access to the production of private broadcasts in German, left the question of selection completely unregulated and in their provisions on the advisory board provided there no guarantee for this would ensure that the socially relevant forces in the organs of the organizers had sufficient influence and could have their say in the overall program.

In order to ensure diversity of opinion, the constitutional court prescribed either an internally pluralistic or an externally pluralistic structure. In the internal pluralistic structure, the diversity of the directions of opinion is reflected in the composition of the control boards within a broadcaster. In this case, the individual broadcaster should cover as many directions of opinion as possible from socially relevant forces.

In the external pluralistic structure, on the other hand, diversity of opinion is achieved through the diversity of broadcasters. In this case, the state media authority must ensure that the overall range of domestic programs corresponds to the existing diversity of opinion by suitably selecting the organizers. In this case too, however, the individual broadcasters must guarantee a minimum of objectivity and mutual respect.

Consequences of the judgment

As a result, the other federal states also created laws on the organization of private broadcasting ( state media laws ), which are based on the requirements of the FRAG ruling.


See also

Media law , broadcasting law , broadcasting freedom , broadcasting , broadcasting judgment , overview of media law decisions