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Digitality and the Democratic Mandate of Public-Service Broadcasting

In the age of the internet, television and radio have lost their status as monopoly mass media. However, the public broadcasters have retained their important role for democracy and their constitutional tasks: Primarily financed by the broadcasting fees of the citizens, they are supposed to inform, entertain, reflect diversity of opinion and different realities of life and be relevant to as many people as possible with a high-quality and diverse programme. For a long time, they have therefore also been present in the social media and on online platforms, with content elaborately adapted to special target groups and their media usage habits. However, the public function is not limited to programming, relevance and reach: the archiving of broadcasts as historical documents of current events is also part of this responsibility, as is the provision and maintenance of media infrastructure. The latter is not only used by the broadcasters themselves, but also by private media professionals – and is of central importance for disaster control. It is clear that the internet and digitalisation are creating pressure for transformation in many areas. What is working well, what still needs to be done – and what is at stake?

Florian Hager is the director of Hessischer Rundfunk, one of Germany’s nine regional public-service broadcasters. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, he describes the urgent questions and challenges the broadcaster is facing. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Hager discusses the significance of the public broadcasters’ mandate in the face of digitality, where the course needs to be set, where the commitment of politics and society is required – and what role transmission masts and FM radios still play in 2023.

Episode 43 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Florian Hager of Hessischer Rundfunk, 31 October 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the hr-Act on the website of Hessischer Rundfunk:,hr-gesetz-100.html
Link to the website of the German Broadcasting Archive:

all episodes of Digitalgespräch»

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.