Strong constitutional guarantees, but pressure from the right
Solid constitutional guarantees and an independent judiciary ensure a favorable environment for journalists in Germany. The constitutional court has consistently ruled in defense of press freedom. However, extremists and hostile demonstrators sometimes threaten, harass or even physically attack journalists. While the bulk of such violations is attributable to the far right, a few also emanate from radical leftists. Some government officials and lawmakers keep pushing for far-reaching security, data-retention and surveillance laws with the potential to infringe on rights such as digital privacy and anonymity. Recent examples include a provision criminalizing the handling of leaked data as well as a draft law aiming to allow German intelligence services to hack into computers and smartphones or intercept encrypted communications without judicial oversight, thus potentially enabling authorities to circumvent existing protections for journalists’ sources.
German laws on access to information are weak by international standards. Media pluralism is undergoing a slow but steady erosion for economic reasons, especially as regards local newspapers
13 in 2019
14.60 in 2019