From broadcasters to open ecosystems On the reform and future of public service broadcasting

By Leonhard Dobusch | In the age of digital platforms, democratic public discourse is increasingly being structured by private, primarily profit-driven companies. While the dual media system in Germany persists, this context presents public service media with the challenge of establishing a relevant public discourse in line with alternative logics that primarily center around a democratic mandate. If they are to tackle this challenge successfully, public service media must themselves become platform operators – opening up their communication infrastructure to their own audience in particular, as well as to other non-profit and, in certain areas, even commercial media. In contrast to the narratives that dominate the media, public service broadcasters in Germany are already very advanced in the development of services like this. A public service ecosystem strategy based on open software, protocols and platforms would thus not mean radical upheaval, but primarily the logical further development of digitalization pathways that have already begun.

Representativity in broadcasting and television councils A comparative analysis of the discrepancy between council composition and demographics

By Jasmin Koch, Sabine Schiffer, Fabian Schöpp and Ronja Tabrizi / The crisis in public service media indicates various causes and areas in which structural reform is needed. In this context, it is important to consider the composition of the broadcasting councils of the ARD broadcasters, the ZDF Television Council, and Deutschlandradio’s Radio Council. Since the people of Germany fund the fulfilment of the ›programming mandate‹ through their license fee, they need to be represented in the supervisory bodies in all their diversity. It is notable that some groups and sectors of people are disproportionately represented, while others are not represented at all.

»Defend the institutions!« Public service media safeguard democracy

By Barbara Thomaß | Expectations for the reform of public service broadcasting in Germany are enormous. Just as great, if not greater, is the need to meet these expectations – and the motivation to achieve this is more than high. There is a real danger of failing to meet these excessive expectations and a process of ailing setting in, with changes in political majorities in the states possible.