The right to freedom of expression – and that includes freedom of the press – is one of the basic rights
in our democracy
here in Germany. This is meant to ensure that all citizens can say and write their opinions freely and can obtain information where they want. In principle, no one is allowed to tell journalists what they should write or report. But there are still certain regulations and laws restricting freedom of the press. No one is allowed to be harmed or insulted, and the personal honour of a person has to be respected. In addition, nothing may be written in newspapers or shown on television that goes against laws on the protection of children and young people. Some people warn that the freedom of the press is in danger when certain companies own too many newspapers or television stations. This could lead to people’s opinions being influenced too much and perhaps even to pressure being exerted on journalists. “Press concentration”, as this is called, can be seen in many countries, including Germany. Here, we have the Federal Cartel Office to monitor such matters.
Gerd Schneider/ Christiane Toyka-Seid