Control of media concentration is a major element in protecting pluralism in the area of private broadcasting. It serves the execution of the requirements of constitutional law, which result from the freedom of broadcasting established by the Basic Law (art. 5 par. 1, sent. 2, Basic Law GG) and the respective jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court.
Current regulations to prevent dominant influence on public opinion focus very much on television. However, other media markets, such as radio markets, and up- or downstream markets are being considered to determine whether a company acquires a dominant influence on public opinion. Furthermore discussions are focusing on whether monitoring media concentration should be developed towards defining a comprehensive media model. In any case the question arises as to the effects different media have on public and individual opinion-forming. Also important is the question about the status of different media and their up- and downstream mediators such as news agencies, cable providers, search engines, social networks, blogs and microblogs, EPGs etc. in opinion-forming.
In order to offer a conclusion on the impact of different media and providers on public and individual opinion-forming, it is necessary to answer the fundamental question as to which processes of opinion-forming should be assessed, how they proceed and how they can be affected.
The Institute's work in the legal area includes an analysis paper, which presents and structures currently observed power shifts in public communication as well as suggestions for potential reactions of concentration law (2011, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung series). In June 2012, the Hans-Bredow-Institut organises in cooperation with the MA HSH and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce the symposium „macht | medienmacht | meinung” [power | media power | opinion], which also touches upon vital project issues.