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Culture & The Media

Radio and television

The extremely wide-ranging media in Germany are organised according to the dual principle of public-sector and private broadcasters.
Fernsehprogramme auf Bildschirmen
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The public broadcasters based on the British model (ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandradio) as corporate bodies paid for from licensing fees and as public-sector entities are the second pillar of the media world, which rests on the dual principle of private and public-sector entities that has essentially remained unchanged since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. The public-sector broadcasters have a legal mandate to provide as many people as possible with information, education, advice, and entertainment.

In order to be able to achieve this objective independently, the licensing fee mandatory for everybody who uses a radio or television provides funding for ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio. As of 2021, the monthly license fee will be 18.36 euros.

Since the 1980s, there has also been a whole raft of private radio and TV broadcasters in the market. The most important TV news programmes are Tagesschau and Tagesthemen, both on ARD, heute and heute journal on ZDF, and RTL aktuell.

Independent information in 30 languages

Deutsche Welle (DW) is Germany’s international broadcasting service and is a member of the ARD (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – the Working Group of Public Broadcasters of the Federal Republic of Germany). DW broadcasts in 30 languages, offering television (DW-TV), radio, Internet and media development as part of the DW Academy. News is provided free of charge in four languages by the German News Service for the media and any interested parties.