Approved by the conference of directors of the Land Media Institutes on 16 December 1997
(Reproduced here is a version of the guidelines issued by the Landesanstalt für Rundfunk Nordrhein-Westfalen, Willie-Becker-Allee 10, D-40227 Düsseldorf)
Translation provided by Inter Nationes and reproduced with kind permission.
Table of Contents
1. Bases and organisation of youth protection
2. Time restrictions for films and other carriers of images
1. Programme announcements
4. Exceptions under section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement
5. Broadcasting times for series and films not passed for a particular age category or passed for showing under the age of 16
6. Broadcasts with indexed content (section 3 subsection 3 of the National Broadcasting Agreement)
7. Impermissible broadcasts
On the basis of sections 38 and 46 read in conjunction with section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement (Article 1 of the National Agreement on Broadcasting in unified Germany of 31 August 1991, last amended by the third National Amending Agreement on Broadcasting) read in conjunction with the relevant Assenting Acts of the Länder
the Landesanstalt für Kommunikation Baden-Württemberg (LfK)
the Bayerische Landeszentrale für neue Medien (BLM)
the Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg (MABB)
the Bremische Landesmedienanstalt
the Hamburgische Anstalt für neue Medien (HAM)
the Hessische Landesanstalt für privaten Rundfunk (LPR Hessen)
the Landesrundfunkzentrale Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (LRZ)
the Niedersächsische Landesmedienanstalt für privaten Rundfunk (NLM)
the Landesanstalt für Rundfunk Nordrhein-Westfalen (LfR)
the Landeszentrale für private Rundfunkveranstalter (LPR) Rheinland-Pfalz
the Landesanstalt für das Rundfunkwesen Saarland (LAR)
the Sächsische Landesanstalt für privaten Rundfunk und neue Medien (SLM)
the Landesrundfunkausschuss für Sachsen-Anhalt (LRA)
the Unabhängige Landesanstalt für das Rundfunkwesen (ULR) Schleswig-Holstein and
the Thüringer Landesmedienanstalt (TLM)
hereby issue the following joint guidelines to ensure the protection of young persons in the programmes of private broadcasting organisations.
1.1 The broadcasting organisations are called upon to take responsibility for ensuring the protection of young persons in the drawing up of their programme schedules. They shall examine on their own responsibility before broadcasting the suitability of broadcasts for children and juveniles insofar as they are not bound under section 3 subsections 2, 3 and 4 of the National Broadcasting Agreement by the assessments therein stipulated or insofar as guidelines or specific decisions of the Land media institutes do not provide the basis for such binding. Each of them shall appoint in accordance with section 4 of the National Broadcasting Agreement a person responsible for youth protection, this person to possess the necessary specialist knowledge in the area of youth protection.
1.2 The Land media institutes shall each supervise for the area of their own competence the observance of the youth protection provisions in the National Broadcasting Agreement. They shall advise the broadcasting organisations and in particular the persons responsible for youth protection nominated by them in applying the provisions on youth protection. The Land media institutes shall commit themselves to cooperating with the institutions of voluntary self-control in keeping with section 3 subsection 6 of the National Broadcasting Agreement.
1.3 Decisions on exceptions pursuant to section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement shall be taken in each case by the competent Land media institute. In this connection equal treatment of the broadcasting organisations pursuant to section 38 subsection 2 of the National Broadcasting Agreement shall be ensured. The Joint Office for Youth Protection and Programming shall work out a proposal for the decision to be taken.
1.4 The Joint Office for Youth Protection and Programming shall produce a regular report. The decisions of the Land media institutes pursuant to section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement shall regularly be notified by the Joint Office for Youth Protection and Programming to the broadcasting companies concerned.
1.5 The Land media institutes, going beyond the mutual agreement in issuing their guidelines and the joint exchange of experience in applying their guidelines under section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement, shall seek to achieve with the Land broadcasting institutes organised in the ARD and with the ZDF uniform prin-ciples for the application of youth protection in the entire sphere of broadcasting. This is intended to obviate divergent practices in public and private broadcasting, given the uniform protective purpose of the relevant provision.
Broadcasts which are such as may adversely affect the physical, mental or psychological well-being of children or juveniles must not be disseminated unless the organiser takes precautions in respect of the broadcasting time or in some other way aimed at ensuring that children or juveniles in the age group affected will not normally see or hear the broadcasts; the organiser may presume this in the case of broadcasts between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. In the case of films which have not been passed for showing under 12 years pursuant to the Act to regulate the public protection of young persons, the well-being of younger children shall be taken into account in choosing the broadcasting time. Films which have not been passed for showing to juveniles under the age of 16 years pursuant to the Act to regulate the public protection of young persons may only be disseminated between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., films which have not been passed for showing to juveniles under the age of 18 years may only be disseminated between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Section 3 subsection 2 of the National Broadcasting Agreement)
2.1 The broadcasting organisation shall determine on its own responsibility the broadcasting time for the purposes of section 3 subsection 2, first and second sentences, subject to any provision made under section 3 subsection 5, second sentence.
2.2 Films for the purpose of this provision shall include other carriers of images passed for viewing under the Act to regulate the public protection of young persons.
2.3 The time restrictions shall be observed for the entire duration of the film.
2.4 A departure from the time restrictions under section 3 subsection 2, third sentence, of the National Broadcasting Agreement shall only be permissible where an exception has been granted under section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement prior to the broadcasting of the film. The decision on an exception in each case shall be taken by the competent Land media institute upon application by the broadcasting organisation and on the basis of the proposal worked out by the Joint Office for Youth Protection and Programming.
2.5 A departure from the time restrictions shall be permissible where the broadcasting company takes some other kind of precaution, for example coding, to ensure that children or juveniles shall not normally see the broadcasts. This requires a corresponding finding by the competent Land media institute on the basis of the proposal worked out by the Joint Office for Youth Protection and Programming.
2.6 The granting of an exception shall also be required where the decision by the main Land authority on whether to pass the film for showing under sections 6 and 7 of the Act to regulate the public protection of young persons lies more than 15 years in the past.
2.7 The granting of an exception shall also be required where the film to be broadcast, whilst having largely the same content, is not identical to the version passed for viewing by the main Land authority.
In respect of broadcasts subject to time restrictions under subsections 2 or 3, programme announcements with moving pictures may only be broadcast at those times (section 3 subsection 4 of the National Broadcasting Agreement). In announcing their programmes, the broadcasting organisations shall have regard to the interests of youth protection. This shall particularly apply as well to broadcasts not subject to broadcasting time restrictions under section 3 subsections 2 or 3.
The … Land media institutes may in specific guidelines or for an individual case permit exceptions to the time limits under subsection 2, third sentence, and subsection 3, first sentence, and depart from the assessment under subsection 2, third sentence, and subsection 2, first sentence; in the case contemplated by the third sentence of subsection 2 this shall particularly apply to films assessed more than fifteen years previously. (Section 3 subsection 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement)
4.1 The following exception shall generally be permitted:
Films designated as “Passed for showing from sixteen years of age” and assessed as such on the basis of the depiction of the relationship between the sexes may pending the issue of some other ruling be shown from 8 p.m. onwards; this shall not apply where the film also has as one of its characteristics representations of violence.
Where the broadcasting organisation avails itself of this it shall take organisational steps to ensure that the assessment is substantiated and documented in a serious manner; upon demand the assessment shall be produced.
4.2 Otherwise exceptions shall be the subject of an application in each individual case. The broadcasting organisation shall indicate in the application the time at which it is intended to broadcast the film. Exceptions in individual cases shall as a matter of principle be granted for specific broadcasting times and slots (workdays, weekends or public holidays). Where it is intended to broadcast the film at an earlier time, a new application shall be required. This shall also apply where the exception was granted for a workday but it is intended to broadcast the film at the weekend ( 8 p.m. on Friday to 11 p.m. on Sunday) or on a public holiday.
4.3 Applications for exception in a specific case shall be made in writing with an unambiguous identification of the film, details of the broadcasting time and a statement of grounds; appended shall be the written record of editing where the film has been edited.
4.4 The Land media institutes, as part of the decision-making process, shall also avail themselves of
- the decision taken by the main Land authority in respect of young persons from which it is intended to depart, together with the full statement of grounds;
- specialist opinions given by institutes of voluntary self-control under section 3 subsection 6 of the National Broadcasting Agreement;
- a copy of the film, to be provided by the broadcasting organisation, where this is necessary for the decision.
The broadcasting time chosen by a public broadcasting institution shall be taken into account insofar as the private broadcasting organisation can demonstrate that the film was shown in a comparable version.
4.5 Where the application for an exception is turned down, the broadcasting organisation may apply for a new granting of an exception where the version of the film is essentially different or where the circumstances and known facts are essentially different.
4.6 The granting of an exception to a particular broadcasting organisation may also be cited by another broadcasting organisation where the film for which the exception was granted is being broadcast in the version forming the basis for the exception ruling and at an equivalent time. In respect of the comparability of the broadcasting time and slot, attention is drawn to paragraph 4.2, third and fifth sentences, of these guidelines.
5. Broadcasting times for series and films not passed for a particular age category or passed for showing under the age of 16
The Land media institutes may, to make allowance for the special aspects of the television showing of films, particularly television series, create provision for time restrictions in guidelines or in a specific case in respect of those films also to which the Act to regulate the public protection of young persons does not apply or which under that Act have been passed for showing to juveniles under the age of 16. (Section 3 subsection 5, second sentence, of the National Broadcasting Agreement)
5.1 In the case of films which have not been submitted to the main Land authority for approval for showing to children and juveniles, the broadcasting organisation shall ensure that the assessment is substantiated and documented in a serious fashion; upon demand the assessment shall be produced.
5.2 In respect of films, television series or single episodes to which the Youth Protection Act is not applicable or which under section 6 subsection 1 and/or section 7 subsection 2, first sentence, of the Youth Protection Act have been approved for children and juveniles under the age of 16 years, provision may be made for time restrictions in specific cases.
5.3 Restrictions may particularly be justified where a television series or a single episode from such a series is intended to bring about a long-term identification of young viewers with certain patterns of behaviour conveying violence. The effect of such a series or a single episode on children or juveniles shall therefore be ascertained through an overall assessment of the series and through consideration of several typical episodes. The broadcasting organisation shall produce the findings upon request. In determining the broadcasting time the broadcasting organisation shall ensure that the physical, mental or psychological well-being of children and juveniles in the relevant age groups shall not be adversely affected. The determination shall be made by the broadcasting organisation on its own responsibility. Unaffected by this shall be the obligation under 1.1 to check each individual episode as to its suitability for children and juveniles and, where necessary, to fix an appropriate broadcasting time.
5.4 Insofar as a film, a series or a single episode has been approved under the Youth Protection Act either as “without age restriction” or “from six years of age”, the broadcasting organisation may presume that time restrictions are not necessary.
5.5 The well-being of young children in the case of films which in view of their violent content have not been approved for children under the age of 12 years pursuant to the Act to regulate the public protection of young persons, shall in any case be deemed to have been taken into account where the broadcasting takes place after 8 p.m.
Broadcasts entirely or essentially identical in content to writings recorded in the list pursuant to section 1 of the Act to regulate the dissemination of writings harmful to young persons shall only be permissible in the period between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., and only where, due regard being had to all the circumstances, the possible moral endangering of children or juveniles cannot be regarded as grave. The grounds which have led to such an assessment shall be put in writing before the broadcast and sent on request to the … Land media institute. (Section 3 subsection 3 of the National Broadcasting Agreement)
6.1 In determining the grounds it must be possible to rule out with sufficient certainty, due regard being had to all the circumstances, that the broadcast will result in a serious endangering of the physical, mental or psychological well-being of children or juveniles. Here consideration shall be made not only of the effect on average young persons, but also on those who are inclined to such endangerment; in respect of exceptions to the time restrictions and the assessment, the provision made under 2 and 3 above shall apply mutatis mutandis. In this connection the broadcasting organisation shall pay particular heed to whether a film meets the definitional requirements of section 6 of the Act to regulate the dissemination of writings harmful to young persons.
6.2 Determination shall also be made of whether a broadcast is essentially identical in content to an indexed writing (equivalent to writings are media carrying sounds and images, illustrations and other representations). This shall not be presumed where through some kind of operation (editing, etc.) such parts have been altered as were obviously the reason for the indexing.
6.3 The determination and the corresponding assessment under 6.1 and 6.2 shall be made by the broadcasting organisation on its own responsibility.
6.4 Where after being passed for showing a film is entered by the main Land youth authority in the list pursuant to section 1 of the Act to regulate the dissemination of writings harmful to young persons, the provisions of section 3 subsection 3 of the National Broadcasting Agreement shall apply.
Broadcasts shall not be permissible where they
- incite to hatred against sectors of the population or against a national, racial, or religious group or one characterised by its ethnic origin, call for violence or arbitrary measures against them, or attack the human dignity of others by insulting, malevolently rendering despicable or defaming sectors of the population or a group previously mentioned (section 130 of the Criminal Code);
- depict cruel or other inhuman violence against persons in a manner expressing a glorification or playing down of such violence or presenting the cruel or inhuman character of the act such that human dignity is violated (section 131 of the Criminal Code);
- glorify war;
- are pornographic (section 184 of the Criminal Code);
- are clearly such as to put children or juveniles at serious moral risk;
- depict, in a manner violating human dignity, persons who are dying or who are or were exposed to great physical or mental suffering, and reproduce an actual event without there being a largely justified interest in this particular form of reporting; consent shall be of no consideration.
(Section 3 subsection 1 of the National Broadcasting Agreement)
The prohibition contained in section 3 subsection 1 number 5 of the National Broadcasting Agreement shall extend to broadcasts which, in a different manner from the forms described in section 3 subsection 1 (1 to 4) but with comparable intensity, clearly produce a grave moral danger for young people. Pornography and the glorification of war and violence shall be assessed solely against the criteria of section 3 subsection 1 (1 to 4).
The above translation was published by Inter Nationes. Reproduced with kind permission. This HTML edition by Lawrence Schäfer and © 2000 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.