Germany | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Article 5 of the German basic law guarantees freedom of expression and of the press. German media largely enjoy these rights in practice, although existing legislation creates exceptions for hate speech, Holocaust denial, and Nazi propaganda. The 1997 Teleservices Law prohibits Internet access to obscene, violent, or "dangerous" material. Local and regional dailies are the most common types of newspapers and present the image of a pluralistic press. Yet, in the past two decades, financial pressures have consolidated the private media sector to the point where a handful of centralized editorial offices produce most of the content. In fact, a few large corporations, such as Axel Springer Verlag and Bertelsmann, control a sizable share of all print and broadcast outlets. The states (Lander) generally oversee public radio and television broadcasters. These public media outlets draw their primary funding from licensing fees.