Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution, and laws against insulting the government or the armed forces are rarely enforced. The European Federation of Journalists expressed its concern over official statements this year that exerted pressure on the media, such as the government's stated intention to change media regulations and establish a new regulatory body without prior public debate. One government official announced that public service broadcasters should only have "limited freedom." Confidentiality of sources is typically recognized as a journalist's right in Portugal, except in cases where the journalist's knowledge could prevent a crime. Journalists contend that this year their right to protect their sources was not respected. In November, 53 journalists were summoned by the Lisbon public prosecutor's office for "violating legal confidentiality rules" in the Casa Pia sex abuse trial, which opened that month. The case, which centers on a well-known orphanage, has rocked Portuguese society because it has implicated important political personalities and has attracted considerable media attention. Some of the journalists requested that they be questioned as accused rather than as witnesses, so they could retain the right to protect their sources. In December, journalist Jose Luis Manso Preto was given an 11-month suspended sentence for refusing to reveal his sources in a drug trial. Commercial television has been making gains in recent years, providing serious competition for the public broadcasting channels that lack funds. Internet access is not restricted. However, use of the Internet is well below the European Union average, with only 20 percent of the population accessing it regularly.