Bavarian constitution & media law
Commercial broadcasting in Bavaria is regulated under the Bavarian Media Act. Unlike all other German states (Länder), the Constitution of the Free State of Bavaria stipulates that all broadcasting services licensed in Bavaria are subject to public oversight.
As provided in the Act, the BLM was founded on April 1, 1985 as an independent institution under public law to serve the public interest in accordance with the Constitution of the Free State of Bavaria and to conduct oversight over all commercial broadcasters in Bavaria. The duties of the BLM are outlined in the Bavarian Media Act (BayMG), which grants the BLM independence from state intervention and complete autonomy in programming. The Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts (Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, or StMWK) oversees the activities of the BLM pursuant to common law while the Bavarian Supreme Audits Office (Bayerischer Oberster Rechnungshof, or ORH) oversees its financial policies.
The President is responsible for the management of the BLM and represents the institution both in and out of court. They are in charge of the day-to-day operations of the BLM and act as its official representative. The President is elected by the Media Council for a term of five years.
Together with the Managing Director as their deputy, the President carries out the resolutions of the Media Council and the Administrative Council and issues directives in matters of great urgency. They are also responsible for all personnel matters and act as the BLM’s official spokesperson.
Dr. Thorsten Schmiege
Managing Director and Deputy to the President
Dr. Annette Schumacher
The Media Council acts in the public interest by ensuring a representative balance of interests as well as a plurality of opinions and services in broadcasting, and by monitoring programming content. It deliberates on issues of fundamental importance to the media. The Media Council elects the President of the BLM and appoints the members of the Administrative Council. It decides on the transmission and retransmission of any programs by broadcasters licensed under the Bavarian Media Act, issues guidelines for programming, approves the annual budget and the annual financial statements, and makes decisions regarding the funding of broadcast productions and technical infrastructure. The 50 members represent all sectors of society.
The Administrative Council is responsible for the finances and the financial performance of the BLM, and approves the annual budget as well as the annual financial statements. Of the nine members appointed by the Media Council, two represent Bavarian municipalities and community organizations, two represent the commercial broadcasters, while the other five represent a cross-section of the media industry and society as a whole.
Germany’s Interstate Treaty on Media allows each federal state to allocate an approx. two percent share of the revenue from TV license fees to the licensing and regulation of commercial broadcasters by the respective state media authority. Pursuant to this provision of the treaty, the BLM receives approx. 1.9 percent of the revenue from TV license fees in Bavaria.