Legal reforms weaken press freedom

Strong constitutional guarantees and an independent judiciary system ensure a generally sound work environment for journalists in Germany. The constitutional court has repeatedly ruled in favor of press freedom and related basic rights. However, journalists continue to be threatened and harassed by right-wing groups and demonstrators without police protection. Prosecutors sometimes push the legal limits during leak investigations. A new anti-whistleblower provision penalizes the handling of leaked data without ensuring adequate protection for investigative journalists as well as their sources. The recently reformed law governing the work of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) allows the surveillance of foreign journalists, thus legalizing infringements on media freedom rather than preventing them. Laws regulating access to information remain weak compared to other countries. The latent economic crisis of newspapers and publishing houses continues to slowly but steadily undermine media pluralism.

in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index



16 in 2016

Global score


14.80 in 2016

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2017
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2017
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2017
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