The Interstate Treaty on Media (Medienstaatsvertrag – MStV) has finally been ratified by all 16 German federal states and can now enter into force. On 28 October 2020, the Parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – the last German federal state to ratify the MStV – adopted the Act ratifying the MStV. Ratification of the MStV by all German federal states is a precondition for the MStV entering into force.

The MStV is the German implementation of the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU, as amended by Directive 2018/1808/EU.

The MStV replaces the current Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag – RStV) and is considered an important milestone in media policy. It is an essential part of the national efforts to modernise the media landscape and to make the German legislative framework fit for the next level of digital media. Consequently, the MStV focuses on services beyond the category of broadcasting, i.e., telemedia services, as well as on broadcasting. With media intermediaries, media platforms, user interfaces and video-sharing-services, the MStV applies to many players on the media market.

In a joint press release by the German State Media Authorities dated 28 October, Chairman of the Directors’ Conference of the State Media Authorities Dr. Wolfgang Kreißig, and Chairman of the Board Conference of the State Media Authorities Dr. Werner Schwaderlapp welcomed the new legal framework.

“With the inclusion of media intermediaries, media platforms and user interfaces, regulatory gaps have been closed to ensure diversity of opinion”, Dr. Kreißig said, adding: “The media authorities are currently in an intensive exchange with stakeholders. The aim is to further specify the Interstate Treaty on Media through suitable and practicable statutes in due course.”

Dr. Schwaderlapp said: “Thanks to the federal states’ decision, freedom of expression and thus diversity of opinion can be better protected in the digital media world. In their capacity as independent supervisory bodies, the state media authorities will fulfil the responsibilities assigned to them in a future-oriented manner.” [both quotations translated from German]

As the modernisation of German media laws tops the agenda of the German legislature, the German Telemedia Act (Telemediengesetz –TMG) also is under revision. The revised version of the TMG is expected this month.