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Coding Public Value: Public Service Media and Software for the Common Good

Coding Public Value: Public Service Media and Software for the Common Good

The project 'Coding Public Value' focuses on the development and evaluation of methods for responsible software engineering for the common good and corresponding institutional, political and organizational frameworks for public-service media platforms. How can legal, political and user-oriented requirements of public media be translated into requirements, methods and quality assessment practices for the engineering of software and which institutional, political, and organizational requirements have to be implemented in order to operate public service media platforms on the foundation of such public service-oriented software engineering?

The project combines science & technology Studies, media and communication research, legal studies (this will be the task of the associated partner HBI), and empirical software engineering in an interdisciplinary collaboration.

The project will provide an analysis of stakeholders in the media sector, the media law and regulatory framework and of usage and market potentials. Furthermore, prototypical implementations are also planned.
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Project Description

The Bayerisches Forschungsinstitut für digitale Transformation (bidt) [Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt)] of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities supports projects that investigate current issues of digital transformation and are interdisciplinary and cross-locational. Criteria for selection were high scientific quality, interdisciplinary access, and the social and political relevance of the proposed topics. Press Release of the bidt (in German): https://www.bidt.digital/bidt-foerdert-neun-forschungsprojekte-zur-digitalisierung/

The project contributes to society in three dimensions:
  • on a practical level, the project develops methods of public-interest oriented software engineering and prototypical implementations and thus contributes to the concretization of the social debate on alternative media and platform technologies in Europe;
  • on a political-regulatory level, the project develops recommendations for action and implementation and corresponding feasibility analyses that show political capacity for action beyond the regulation of digital technologies;
  • on a socio-public level, the project carries out co-design oriented stakeholder multilogs in order to involve public engagement in the development of technical and regulatory implementation proposals.
The project is designed to develop and evaluate media policy design options in the context of developing concrete technical implementations in prototypes and procedures.
The Leibniz Institute for Media Research is responsible for the media law work package: The core of the legal framework for the public broadcasters is the public programming mandate in Section 11 of the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (RStV), in addition to the individual legal foundations for establishing the respective institution (e.g. BRG Act, SWR-StV). In the area of telemedia services, Sections 11d, 11f RStV also stipulate specific requirements and procedures that a new or modified online service from public broadcasters must undergo. The resulting service concepts contain a large number of specific and undefined concept requirements and voluntary commitments, which, however, generally relate to the content of the service.
The media law work package therefore presents the existing legal framework and identifies the current different content-related mission dimensions. They will be examined in terms of their application to content management and distribution, search and suggestion systems and filter technologies. Constitutional and simple-law dimensions of specific public-law offerings of this kind will be worked out. On the level of telemedia concepts, the available final telemedia concepts according to § 11f RStV will be analysed and those forms of self-regulation will be presented in aggregated form that refer to approaches and requirements for algorithmic selections.
The tasks in this work package lead to the presentation of the existing legal framework and questions of its applicability and concretisation in algorithmic procedures within telemedially provided offers in a systematic catalogue of requirements for corresponding systems. Positive requirements (diversity dimensions, balance, transparency) and negative limits (protection of personal rights, data protection, protection of minors in the media, responsibility for inadmissible statements by third parties, prohibition of press similarity, etc.) will be considered in a differentiated way.
In addition, the media law perspective is also incorporated into the further work packages of the cooperation partners: In the context of the creation of software prototypes, the media-law central question is how legal requirements and normative self-commitment can be efficiently transformed into software requirements (functional and non-functional)? Which structural framework conditions for current and future forms of regulation and their concretization are necessary for this?

Project Information


Duration: 2020-2022

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Third party

Bayerisches Forschungsinstitut für digitale Transformation (bidt) der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

Cooperation Partner

Science & Technology Studies (STS):
PD Dr. Jan-Hendrik Passoth, Digital Media Lab, Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technische Universität München (PI)
Software Engineering (SE):
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daniel Mendez, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Schweden und fortiss GmbH, München (PI)
Kommunikationswissenschaft (KW):
Prof. Dr. Hans-Bernd Brosius, Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Medienforschung, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (PI)
Dr. Julian Unkel, Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Medienforschung, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Contact person

Dr. Stephan Dreyer
Senior Researcher Media Law & Media Governance

Dr. Stephan Dreyer

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 33
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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