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Freedom of the Press 2008 - Portugal

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 29 April 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Portugal, 29 April 2008, available at: [accessed 21 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 4 (of 30)
Political Environment: 6 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 6 (of 30)
Total Score: 16 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Portuguese media remained free in 2007 despite the parliament's decision in September to pass the Journalists' Statute, a law that potentially strips journalists of their right to protect confidential 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, which were originally proposed in 2006, 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." The parliament made minor changes to the law after the President of the country vetoed the bill in August and acknowledged that it contradicted some aspects of the Code of Criminal Procedures that respects professional secrecy, an issue that he acknowledged is "particularly delicate to journalists' activity." The parliament passed the law by making cosmetic changes to it to conform to the President's concerns, but essentially leaving the capacity for officials to gain access to confidential sources from journalists.

The new Journalist's Statute also gives journalists' employers and clients the right to reuse work in any way for 30 days following their first publication. Journalists have the right to reject any modifications to their work if such changes might affect their reputation; they can 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. According to the US State Department, more than 40 percent of the population between the ages of 16 and 74 used the internet, and more than double that for high school and college graduates.

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