In terms of press freedom, there was unfortunately also a deterioration in this country last year. According to the Yearbook of Press Freedom, which Reporters Without Borders has been publishing since 2013, Germany has been downgraded from “good” to “satisfactory”. This is a setback in a country whose citizens are proud of the freedom of the media, which they see as a true fourth instance.
Since my arrival in Germany in 2015, I have been following this press freedom ranking. At the beginning of every year I look forward to making sure that only the white color, the “good” suit, covers the map of Germany, but that has not happened this year because the “satisfactory” yellow was able to take over the white too move and replace. I was disappointed with the deterioration in Germany’s rating, although this was to be expected given the reports of attacks on many media workers over the past year.
is a Syrian journalist. The now 47-year-old was imprisoned from 2002 to 2004. At the beginning of this year, he fled to Germany with his wife and two daughters via Lebanon. He has been living in Berlin with his family for five months. In the SZ, Yahya Alaous writes regularly about “My life in Germany” (you can find the first column here).
Translation: Jasna Zajcek
The good thing is that we have an observatory that not only monitors the situation of media freedom in this country and in other countries, but takes it seriously as a challenge and obstacle for journalists and then puts it on the table of public opinion .
When a downturn in the economy was announced last year during the corona pandemic, there was great concern and discontent among citizens; they called for quick action. The deterioration of the German media freedom rankings did not provoke such a reaction. Many people have never even heard of it, and may not even have heard of it, despite the fact that Reporters Without Borders has warned several times about the deterioration.
Too little help from the police
Reporters Without Borders has established standards to measure the state of press freedom in a country. A major reason for the increasing number of attacks on journalists, in my view, was that the police were not helping them enough, especially during demonstrations. It is especially worrying that the attacks on journalists came from German citizens themselves.
It is not easy to change people’s attitudes towards journalistic work and to re-establish media freedom as an important, even sacred value. This is real work, but it must be done, otherwise things like France, Britain and the United States threaten Germany. These countries have never been in white since the index’s launch in 2013.
As a journalist from a country where all forms of freedom are suppressed, I believe that the freedom of the media, freedom of expression and expression guaranteed by law is more important than anything else. A country’s strength lies not only in its economic strength, but also in the freedoms it protects and grants.