Freedom of the Press
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)
Portuguese media remained free in 2006, despite the proposal of a new law that would restrict journalists’ ability to protect their sources. Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution, and laws against insulting the government or the armed forces are rarely enforced. Changes to the country’s Journalism Law were proposed in 2006 that would make it easier for courts to order journalists to disclose confidential sources if the courts decided that it would be “difficult to obtain [the] information in any other way.” If passed, the revised law would most likely be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights. An appeal by two journalists in April 2006 to block a court order to examine their computers was rejected. The reporters claimed that the search violated their right to source protection, while the court held that the reporters were guilty of “illegal access to personal data.” This came after the journalists had published a piece claiming that Telecom Portugal was in possession of a list of 80,000 phone numbers of public officials, including the president’s, in connection with the Casa Pia pedophile case.
The proposed changes to the Journalism Law would also give journalists’ employers and clients the right to reuse work in any way for 30 days following their first publication. Journalists would have the right to reject any modifications to their work if such changes might affect their reputation; they could also remove their names from badly edited pieces. However, the European Federation of Journalists has argued that such protections are “impracticable,” especially because such “modifications are made without the journalist’s knowledge” and will be discovered only after their publication.
Six main national newspapers, four daily and two weekly, make up the bulk of the printed press in Portugal. There are some 300 local and regional private radio stations. The Catholic station Radio Renascenca commands a wide listening audience. Commercial television has been making gains in recent years, providing serious competition for the public broadcasting channels that lack funds. The internet is unrestricted, with more than 70 percent of the population able to access it regularly.