4. Broadcasting judgment - 4. Rundfunk-Urteil

The fourth broadcast judgment in German jurisprudence is the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of November 4, 1986 ( reference: BVerfGE 73,118-Lower Saxony. ). Together with the 3rd broadcast judgment , the judgment forms the basis for the dual broadcasting system .


With its state broadcasting law, the state of Lower Saxony created one of the first legal foundations for private broadcasting . The Federal Constitutional Court was then called upon as part of a norm review procedure .

Summary of the judgment

The Constitutional Court held the Lower Saxony law although for fundamentally unconstitutional, but said many of the provisions to be unconstitutional, because these are the freedom of broadcasting not adequately ensured. It stated: "In the dual system of broadcasting, as it is currently emerging in the majority of German states on the basis of the new media laws, the essential 'basic service' is a matter for the public broadcasters" [1] , which is therefore higher Must meet requirements as a private broadcaster. This basic service mandate comprises three elements: the general, area-wide reception of the public service programs, the guarantee of a content-related standard of the programs and the safeguarding of the diversity of opinion (here Indoor Pluralism).

Because of the financing of advertising, there is a risk with commercial broadcasting that a large part of the airtime will be devoted to popular, mass-attractive programs. For this reason, private radio alone cannot fulfill the public communication task that arises from freedom of broadcasting (according to H.M. or under the current economic and frequency-related circumstances).

The BVerfG thus works out the basis of the dual broadcasting system: private broadcasting is also permitted with a lower basic standard of diversity, as long as the basic service is ensured by public broadcasting.

Consequences of the judgment

As a result, the First State Treaty on Broadcasting was concluded on December 1, 1987 .

See also

Media law , broadcasting law , broadcasting freedom , broadcasting , broadcasting judgment


Individual evidence

  1. BVerfGE 73, 118 - 4th broadcasting decision