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Communications: Media

In Germany media is an important part of the country’s culture, the quality of journalism is high and the freedom of the press is guaranteed under the Basic Law. Media is also the main channel through the citizens obtain the information: The 51 percent of Germans get their news from television, 22 percent from the written press (newspapers, magazines) and 6 percent from radio.

The Press
In Germany the quality of journalism is high and the freedom of the press is guaranteed under the Basic Law. The most popular newspaper in the country and the fifth most popular around the world is Bild Zeitung, or Die Bild that has a circulation of 4,390,000. This newspaper is published from Monday to Saturday and it is an example of yellow journalism, although many people buy it for other interesting sections such as television listings and sports sections. Other important newspaper is the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung that, in contrast to the Bild Zeitung, is respected internationally for its serious and objective content. It is mostly read by the German political and business elite.

Other newspapers in Germany have some political bias, for example Vovwarts, the official newspaper of the Social Democratic Party; and Bayernkurier, the mouthpiece of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria.
The press media is also represented by the weekly magazine; there are around 780 general magazines and 3400 specialized magazines. The most popular is Der Spiegel with a political orientation and critical analysis.

Radio and Television
In Germany, radio and television are important part of the media although the television, more than radio, enjoys independence in what it broadcasts. They are organized along two fundamentally different lines: The private channels that are usually specialized in particular types of programs, and the public broadcasting networks that offer information, education and entertainment to the majority of Germans. The proportion of Germans watching public channels has dropped to less than one-half since the start of private broadcasting and Germans, who have a radio and/or television, must register each piece and pay a quarterly user fee.

Public network channels are broadcasting for corporations to federal states and they are mainly financed by user’s fee. The most important television channels are “Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen”, The Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Öffentlich-Rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten Deutschlands (ARD) among others. Many TV channels are broadcast regionally and put emphasis on local events and educational programs.
Public radio stations provide localized programming and are also regionally focused. There are two main radio stations: Deutschland Radio and Deutsche Welle.
Private TV stations are broadcast via cable and satellite; there are about 40 channels on the cable (more of them are in English) but the most popular method to receive more international channels is to have a satellite dish installed. The main German private station is RTL that is also received in some areas as a public channel.
There are also a number of private radio stations that are subject to a regulatory supervision, many radio stations are available in English from the cable.

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