Strong constitutional guarantees, but pressure from the right

Solid constitutional guarantees and an independent judiciary ensure a favourable environment for journalists in Germany. The constitutional court has consistently ruled in defence of press freedom. But 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. Journalists are also sometimes threatened, harassed or even physically attacked by extremists and hostile demonstrators. Most of these violations are attributable to the far right, but the radical left is responsible for some. 2020 was a particularly violent year for  journalists, especially during protests against Covid-19 restrictions, when some reporters were attacked. A climate of mistrust prevails, which populist politicians try systematically to keep alive. Various government officials and lawmakers continue to push 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 criminalising 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.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



11 in 2020

Global score


12.16 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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