Media content relevant for child protection

Germany has an extremely fine-knit mesh of legal provisions for child protection in the media. The most important of these is the German Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV), but the German Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (RStV), the German Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG) and the German Criminal Code (StGB) also contain provisions imposing restrictions on providers of electronic media content for youth protection purposes.

The legislature uses a sophisticated system of requirements and prohibitions in response to the challenge of reconciling with each other certain values fundamental to an enlightened society – including freedom of expression and information, the prohibition of censorship, the rights and duties of parents as regards their children’s upbringing and the protection of children and adolescents – in as liberal a manner as possible. The fact that key basic rights may be restricted for youth protection purposes has its foundations in the German constitution:

Article 5 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz)

(1) Every person shall have the right to freely express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.

(2) These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honour.

(3) ...