Published: 08.57 UTC, March 17, 2011
The free-to-air satellite broadcast of the German parliament (Deutschen Bundestag) is ‘illegal’, according to Thomas Fuchs, chairman of ZAK, the commission on licensing and supervision of the media.
“The Bundestag is in a legal vacuum,” said Fuchs in a press release, “Of course, the Bundestag, like all other institutions, wants to have the opportunity to provide information about his work in a contemporary way. Currently there is no legal basis for such a parliamentary TV channel.”
The parliamentary channel was launched in 1990, but according to the ZAK, some important changes were made in the programming. While originally the broadcasts consisted solely of live streams from sessions of parliament and committees, the channel now also adds editroial features.
In 1999, the channel received permission from the regional media authority in Berlin-Brandeburg for distribution on the Berlin cable network, but this did not constiture a broadcast licence.
In the opinion of ZAK, the situatioin has fundamentally changed when the Bundestag channel started to stream its signal on the open internet as well as launch free-to-air satellte transmissions on the Astra satellite at 23.5 degrees East.