Protection of Minors in Broadcasting

Assessment criteria

The assessment of broadcasting and telemedia content is conducted on the basis of the JMStV which distinguishes between illegal content and content which can impair the development of minors. In addition, the KJM has developed a catalogue of criteria (German language version) which in particular deals with the effects and risks which can result in an impairment of or harm to children or adolescents.

Illegal content

Illegal content must not be distributed in broadcasting services or in telemedia services. Illegal content includes in particular content which glorifies or plays down war or violence or which shows pornography involving violence, animals or children.

Art. 4 JMStV classifies as illegal the following content (selection):

  • using insignia of organisations which are prohibited under the German Constitution,
  • inciting to racial hatred,
  • denying or playing down acts committed under the National Socialist regime,
  • pornography,
  • glorifying war,
  • presenting children or adolescents in unnatural poses (so-called posing),
  • violating human dignity, especially by presenting persons who are dying or exposed to serious physical or mental suffering.

Content impairing development

Broadcasting content which is rated as impairing the development of minors as specified in Art. 5 JMStV is subject to access restrictions which can be achieved by technical control mechanisms. Specific presentations of violence or sexuality can impair the development of children and adolescents into self-responsible personalities and socially competent members of society. Such content is assumed to present a risk as regards the protection of minors without causing harm to minors; restrictions can therefore be less strict. Such content may be distributed if children or adolescents of the age group concerned cannot see or hear it. Regarding broadcasting content, access restrictions and watersheds can be employed.

Depictions of violence which could impair the development of minors are assessed according to the following criteria:

depictions of violence which are typical for the genre in question

  • close orientation of genre on reality
  • basic atmosphere of the broadcast
  • extensive scenes of violence
  • suspense potential of the broadcast
  • context in which violence occurs; potential for identification by characters committing acts of violence
  • concept of the film

Criteria for assessing depictions of sexuality which can impair the development of minors:

  • depictions of sexuality which do not correspond to the development of children and adolescents such as unusual sexual practices
  • stereotype roles of the sexes involving discriminating patterns of behaviour
  • connection of sexuality and violence, in particular where children or adolescents are concerned
  • playing down or idealising prostitution or promiscuous behaviour