Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press

Freedom of opinion and media development in German development policy

Presenter at Radio Okapi, a radio station run by the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Development cooperation in the area of freedom of opinion and media development is a core element of Germany’s efforts to promote democracy and good governance. It focuses on creating an environment that is conducive to diversity in the media landscape, ensures the right of all citizens to access to information and freedom of opinion and makes it possible for media professionals to do their work, free of fear and political pressure.

Action areas

Support is given to state entities and civil society organisations seeking to improve the political and legal environment so as to ensure free and diverse media. Non-governmental organisations working to promote freedom of opinion and protection for media professionals and human rights activists also receive support.

Training is vital to high-quality, socially relevant journalism. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides assistance to set up training programmes, modernise curricula and train teachers. In particular, these activities aim to reflect real-life journalistic practice.

The professionalism and financial sustainability of the media sector in developing countries is strengthened through measures to design sustainable financing models for independent journalism. Innovation and quality are priorities in the work done together with trade associations, press councils, regional networks and media organisations.

In many countries, disadvantaged groups are extremely restricted in their ability to participate in society. To give them a voice and ensure they are heard in social dialogue, support is given for activities that are relevant to the target group and encourage participation, such as community media.


The DW Akademie is a strategic partner in the BMZ’s work to promote freedom of expression and access to information. Part of the international public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the Akademie is responsible for Deutsche Welle’s development cooperation activities, which seek to develop free, transparent media systems in 25 focus countries as well as providing training for journalists.

Assistance is also granted to civil society organisations that work to ensure the right to freedom of opinion, free speech and access to information is respected, protected and guaranteed in our partner countries. In addition, in the area of bilateral Technical Cooperation, the BMZ supports GIZ projects aimed at promoting these rights.

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