In Germany, everybody is free to write and say what they want – provided they do not violate other people’s basic rights. This is known as freedom of the press and freedom of expression. In Germany all citizens enjoy these freedoms, which are guaranteed by the constitution. Newspapers, radio, and television broadcasters are not owned by the government or by individual parties, but are regulated by private or public law. And of course there is no censorship that tells people what they ought to say and think!
Young people regard the media as part and parcel of everyday life. Their no. 1 source of information is the Internet, followed by radio and TV. And even though 90 percent of Germany’s young population uses social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and the like, they still read books, newspapers, and magazines, although they spend less time with these media. When it comes to political topics, young people use different sources of information: most of them watch Tagesschau, one of the major evening bulletins on TV. This is followed by the website spiegelonline.de and the search engine Google. In addition, there are children’s TV news channels such as Kika, and news broadcasts catering especially to a young audience. And at the end of 2016 Germany’s two main broadcasting stations, ARD and ZDF, will be launching a special TV channel for young people on the Internet.
Girls and boys do not watch the same programmes: girls aged between 13 and 16 love soaps, while boys prefer to watch sitcoms. Model Heidi Klum presents the show Germany’s next Top Model, making her the most important media idol for girls. Boys like the presenter and comedian Stefan Raab.
Perhaps you know the feeling that you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet? When 12 to 19-year-olds have to decide on the reliability of one media source over another, the majority of them tend to opt for a traditional analogue medium: the newspaper (40 percent).