How free is our press really? And how much can they be influenced?

Article.5 abs. 1 GG:

Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate their opinion in word, writing and image and to inform themselves freely from generally accessible sources.Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by radio and film are guaranteed. There is no censorship.

Abs.2: These rights find their limits in the provisions of general laws, the legal provisions for the protection of young people and the right of personal honour.

Our Basic Law guarantees freedom of the press.Without ifs and buts. The strongest institution that the policy in its legislation on constitutional conformity is our Federal Constitutional Court. It has become increasingly active in recent years, as many anti-terrorism laws, particularly those on terrorism, are scratching the boundaries of legality. From my professional practice as a former rescue assistant: The press is even so free that it is allowed to take photos in the work area of the fire brigade and ambulance service, i.e. directly next to the accident victim. The fire brigade and the ambulance service must not prevent them from working as public or state service providers and, in the worst case scenario, risk a trial for improper restriction of press freedom. In particular, police and fire service officers need to be very careful. For the protection of privacy, there is the press code, which should be adhered to as a journalist if he or she takes pictures, otherwise you may be able to follow. the competent association. This means that images show people helpless, seriously injured, dead, or bare,, not or, if necessary, (bars/pixels). So yes: the press is free.


There is a problem that is slowly but surely creeping in and which is beyond the control of the constitutional courts.Quality and investigative journalism is hardly worth it any more. The result of the flooding of the Internet with free articles means that the time effort is hardly worth it. There is an oversupply. As a result, the editorial offices try to minimize the effort and increase the yields – as in a conventional business. To minimize effort unfortunately also means: monitor social networks, the Internet and other media first for possible topics instead of actively researching on site. Minimizing effort means, if necessary, also: buy items from agencies. It often wins the cheapest agency. Articles are sometimes the same in all daily newspapers. Problem: Here is the possibility to control the press in a targeted way: by manipulating the social networks with bots, for example, by spreading fake news, distorting opinions such as those that happened in the last US presidential campaign, by manipulating the social networks with articles that set a political line, etc. In Germany, this problem is still relatively small, but is picking up speed. There were repeated suspicions about various parties, especially in the last Bundestag election.

Where does this lead?A well-known daily newspaper in the Ruhr area is such a problem case. In the print editions, it can be noted in part that there was insufficient control for errors. Incorrect grammar, spelling mistakes are still the most harmless. Worse, statements that have been proven not to be verifiable (sometimes Google would have been enough) have been adopted. In the print edition, these errors are still limited. The online edition is really evil. Here I have already found articles that have been automatically translated by a system that is not capable of the German language. The wording in terms of grammar alone makes it clear to the reader: the article was purchased and definitely insufficiently read before it was published.

Leave a Reply