Art. 5 of the German Constitutional Law: Freedom of speech and press freedom
Media are protected under Article 5 of the Constitutional Law. A very comprehensive fundamental right of freedom of expression and freedom of press clearly limits the influence of the German state. On the other hand, it is undeniable that media have great influence on the population. They inform, entertain and represent opinions. Media do not represent just the reality of facts although; they also shape the world around us. In view of the strong position of the media in our information-society and its high sociopolitical importance, it is necessary – within the limits of Article 5- to have a certain legislative provisions and regulations.
Public „Rundfunkrecht“- German Broadcasting Trading
The so-called “Rundfunkrecht“ or broadcasting legislation is connected to the German Regions (Ländern). In order to ensure that there are not 16 different regulations for nationwide electronic media (including radio, television and online services) the states have agreed on nationwide laws on nationwide legal bases.
Thus, a number of different Broadcasting State Treaties has been agreed: such as ARD-State Treaty, ZDF- State Treaty, Broadcasting State Treaty and Youth Media Protection State Treaty.
In Lower Saxony, there is also the regional media law regulating the regional, local and private lower Saxony broadcasts. It regulates the organization of broadcasting by private organizers, the retransmission of broadcasting and media services in cable systems and the allocation of transmission capacities. The supervisory authority for private broadcasting is the “Niedersächsische Landesmedienanstalt” (NLM).
NDR-State Treaties / Press Law of Lower Saxony „Niedersächsische Pressegesetz“
The legal basis for the activities of “Norddeutscher Rundfunk” (NDR) is the NDR State Treaty. The NDR is a public broadcast and is supported by Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein.The Broadcasting Council supervises tv-programs of the NDR. The lead in the legal supervision changes according to schedule among the four state contracting countries.For the area of the so-called “print media” (which are primarily newspapers and magazines) the Lower Saxony Press Law applies. This, for instance, regulates the right to information and due diligence of the press, the requirements for an imprint etc.