General Ban on Satellite Antennas not Permitted

The Federal Constitutional Court 1 BvR 1314/11 of 31.03.2013 had to decide whether or not a general ban on satellite dishes in private apartments could be generally forbidden or not. It also set out the rules for having a satellite bowl on the roof. This decision is about a Turkoman with Turkmenian background belongs to the Turkic minority living in Turkey having its own language. [PPD_PAYTOREADMORE]Since cable TV does not offer any programs in the Turkmenian language, the tenants installed a satellite bowl on the roof. The landlord protested and since the tenants did not give in, he took it to court. This case wrote history because it went through all the courts to be finally decided by the Federal Constitutional Court on the very general and conceptual question: Can a landlord deny the permission for a satellite antenna in all cases – just because he does not want them installed on his house?

The Federal Constitutional Court decided that there is no general ban permitted. In each and every individual case, the landlord must weigh whose interests are more important: the landlord’s interest in an optically unobstructed building or the tenant’s constitutional freedom of interest for information (Art. 5 GG) or less technically worded, the available programs with or without satellite. In this case, the provided cable TV did not provide any programs in Turkmen or on the Turkmenian people. Generally, the landlord does his best when he provides cable TV unless a reasonable number of programs from home are not available by cable and only available via satellite. If further programs can only be received with a reasonable fee is irrelevant. To prevent misuse or unreasonable demands, tenants  claiming such lack of programs from home have to  prove that they really live following their traditions and speak their national language.

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