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

Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.

  • The constitution guarantees freedom of expression and of the press, though there are exceptions for hate speech, Holocaust denial, and Nazi propaganda.

  • A new data-retention law requiring firms to store information such as e-mails and telephone conversations for up to six months went into effect on January 1, 2008.

  • In December, an antiterrorism law that would have required journalists to reveal their research material and sources was defeated in the parliament. However, a different version of the law was expected take effect in 2009.

  • Privacy was a major issue in Germany in 2008, with several large companies admitting to spying on employees and journalists. Deutsche Telekom acknowledged that it had monitored the telephone calls of journalists, board members, and shareholders. The company argued that it was attempting to locate the source of a leak. The German airline Lufthansa also admitted that it had spied on a journalist in an attempt to identify leaks coming from the company's board.

  • The print media are dominated by numerous regional papers, and only a handful of national papers are published.

  • Each of the 16 regional governments is in charge of its own public radio and television broadcasting system, and there are also a number of private stations throughout the country.

  • The internet is open and largely unrestricted, but there is a legal ban on access to child pornography and Nazi propaganda, and individuals under court-ordered surveillance are monitored. The internet was accessed by 67 percent of the population in 2008.

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