Germany Government and Media
Government Type: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Leader: Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (Chancellor is the equivalent of Prime Minister)
Political Party: The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)
Political Position: Center-Right
World Press Freedom Rank: Germany 13/180 (2021)
According to Reporters without Borders Germany has “strong constitutional guarantees” but increasing hostility towards journalists threatens media both from the “far-right” and “a few also emanate from radical leftists.” For example, often far-right movements such as Pegida target journalists.
In Germany, many large corporations own media and dominate the media landscape. Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (merged with springer ), Axel Springer SE (largest in Europe), Bertelsmann (Largest Media Enterprise), Südwestdeutsche Medienholding, Funke Mediengruppe (third largest newspaper and magazine publisher), DuMont Schauberg (oldest publishing house), and Madsack are among the few owning the majority of media. This power concentration may create a media oligopoly that can pose a threat to pluralism and lead to pro-corporate bias.
Government Influence on Media: The Government subsidizes public media indirectly through public service media funding. In Germany, there is two national public broadcasting organization. These are ARD and ZDF and under public law, ARD and ZDF are financed from obligatory fees. The current monthly fee for radio and TV is EUR 17.50 per month. The fee brings Approximately 8 billion euros ($10.3 billion) a year in revenue. For more on the public broadcasters please see here. Private stations mainly finance themselves through advertising. However political parties or groups do influence a broadcaster since the council’s members are elected either by the state parliaments or nominated by political parties.
The press is privately owned, with The German Press Council monitoring compliance with the ethical rules and is responsible for ensuring observance of the Press Code. The German Press Council is financed through the contributions of two publishing and two journalist organizations and an annual subsidy granted by the German Federal government. In general, the Government has minimal direct control over the media outlets since most of them are privately owned and financed through advertising and subscription/license fees.