Media self-regulation has mainly criticized violations of the duty of care. When it came to explosive political issues, the job was generally carried out fairly.

Newspapers and magazines are offered in a newspaper shop.

Despite many reprimands, for the most part they worked cleanly: newspapers and magazines Photo: Jens Kalaene / dpa-Zentralbild

SEDAN dpa | The German Press Council issued more warnings in 2023 than ever before. It was mainly about journalistic rigor. This was announced on Wednesday in Berlin by the voluntary self-regulation of print and online media. The most severe sanction was imposed 73 times for especially serious violations of the press code.

The previous year, the Press Council had only issued 47 warnings. However, the number of complaints received by the committee only increased slightly compared to the previous year.

The Press Council complained particularly frequently that editorial teams had violated the journalistic duty of care under Article 2 of the Press Code. These included misleading headlines or lack of research. He issued reprimands for such violations 22 times. The Press Council also frequently criticized editors who had ignored the protection of personality and victims under Article 8.

“Especially in times of crisis, readers want information that meets ethical standards,” said Press Council spokesperson Kirsten von Hutten. “Editors must transparently correct errors, engage in dialogue with readers, and explain their work if they are criticized.”

The Press Council considers it positive that it has been able to largely reject complaints about the most relevant news topics as unfounded. “On important issues like the wars in Israel and Gaza, as well as in Ukraine, print and online media have overwhelmingly done a clean job,” von Hutten said. Overall, as in previous years, more than two thirds of the complaints processed were unfounded.

In total, the Press Council received 1,850 individual complaints last year, slightly more than in 2022, with only 1,733 complaints.

The German Press Council, founded in 1956, is the voluntary self-regulation of print and online media in Germany. Advocates for compliance with ethical standards and responsibility in journalism, as well as for maintaining the reputation of the press.

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