Protection of Minors in Broadcasting

Programme monitoring

The state media authorities continually monitor all radio and TV services they have licensed with a view to the provisions for the protection of minors. If content is suspected of having violated the respective provisions, the authorities forward the case to the KJM for analysis.

Ex-ante analysis of content

The media authorities check the programme schedules in order to analyse the scheduling of planned TV broadcasts prior to their transmission to prevent potential breaches of the watershed provisions. In this process, the authorities take into consideration all feature films for which the voluntary self-regulation organisation for cinema films, FSK, has granted an age rating, and verify whether the scheduled transmission time is in accordance with the age rating. Films for which the FSK has given a “16” rating may only be shown at 22.00 hours or later. If a broadcaster intends to show a film at an earlier time than would be possible with the age rating, the media authorities check during the advance assessment whether the film has received a down-graded age rating by the FSK or the KJM has granted an exception.

The voluntary self-regulation organisation for commercial television (FSF) which the KJM certified in accordance with Art. 19 JMStV for this task can also grant exceptions so that a film can be shown earlier than would be permitted under the FSK age rating. The KJM therefore checks whether films which have an age rating granted by the FSK and which are scheduled for earlier transmission have been granted an exception by the FSF.

Ex-post control of broadcasts

TV films or series usually do not have an FSK age rating as the FSK deals with productions for cinema distribution only. TV movies, series or so-called “psycho” or “reality” formats are recorded during transmission by the media authority in charge in the process of programme monitoring and then controlled with a view to the provisions for the protection of minors.

As regards cinema films with an FSK age rating, the list of cuts made plays an important role in programme monitoring. The FSK can require cuts in order to grant a lower age rating; this allows a film to be shown at an earlier time on TV than would be possible with the original age rating. The media authorities therefore check if the broadcasters have adhered to the required cuts.

Films listed in the index of prohibited material must not be broadcast on television; this is specified in Art. 4 Section 2 no. 2 JMStV. Regarding films which the BPjM has included in the list ("index") in the original version, the media authorities verify that the version shown on TV was not identical in content with the version indexed by the BPjM and was therefore acceptable for TV transmission.

Dealing with audience complaints

Alongside continuous programme monitoring, the media authorities also deal with complaints of viewers or listeners about broadcasts which they analyse with a view to the provisions for the protection of minors. If a media authority finds that a programme has possibly breached the provisions of the JMStV, it forwards the matter to the KJM for analysis. The KJM then establishes if the provisions of the JMStV have in fact been violated.