Strong judiciary but worrying new laws
Solid constitutional guarantees and an independent judiciary ensure a favorable environment for journalists in Germany. The constitutional court has issued several rulings that defend press freedom and related fundamental rights. But far-right groups and demonstrators sometimes threaten or harass journalists. Judicial authorities sometimes exceed the legal limits when investigating leaks to the press. And some journalists had their accreditation withdrawn during the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017, a scandal that exposed the scale of the illegal data on journalists held by the police. A 2017 law on social network hate speech threatens platform providers with heavy fines if they fail to remove “clearly illegal” content quickly. As well as encouraging excessive data blocking, this law has been used as a model for oppressive laws in other countries, including Russia and the Philippines. Other recent laws have caused concern because they include provisions on whistleblowers and penalize the media’s use of leaks. The law on the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) legalized spying on foreign journalists outside the EU. The German laws on access to information are weak compared with those in other countries. The closure of more and more newspapers and publishing houses for economic reasons is slowly but steadily undermining media pluralism.
16 in 2017
14.97 in 2017