Austria: dominance of the tabloids
The predominance of politically motivated advertising and financially strong publishing houses leaves little space for independent new media in Austria. The resulting dominance of the tabloids hinders diversity on the media market.
Belgium: Media divided into linguistic groups
The division of Belgium is an established fact - at least in the media. The French-speaking region, Wallonia, Dutch-speaking Flanders and the small German-speaking region each have their own media and media structures. Experts find it worrying that in none of the three regions is there much media coverage of other parts of the country.
Bulgaria: commercial interests instrumentalise the media
The democratic revolution of 1989 led to major changes in Bulgaria's media landscape. The strong demand for independent journalism after decades of communist repression of media freedom (1944–1989) led to the founding of numerous new print media.
Croatia: Pressure on journalists and critical media
Although Croatia became independent in 1991 its media continue to be marked by the war surrounding the break-up of Yugoslavia and the transition from a socialist to a democratic society.
Cyprus: a divided public
Cyprus's media landscape was shaped by the former colonial power Great Britain until independence in 1960. That same year press freedom was enshrined in the constitution and in 1989 extended via a law. Since the division of Cyprus in 1974, the island's media landscape has also been de facto divided.
Czech Republic: a media tycoon bolsters his empire
The billionaire Andrej Babiš dominates large sections of the Czech media and is also politically active. His opponents call him "the Czech Berlusoni". But former editors of media outlets that Babiš has taken over in recent years are gathering at alternative websites and creating an alternative public sphere.
Denmark: a cruder journalistic culture
In recent years Danish journalists have started using unscrupulous methods to obtain stories. In 2014 the tabloid Se og Hør, for instance, paid bribes to the staff of credit card companies and hospitals to obtain information about celebrities. At the end of 2016 several of those implicated in the affair were sentenced to prison.
Estonia: Controversy over anonymous commentaries
The issue of online commentaries is highly controversial in Estonia, and is now being investigated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In 2015 the online portal Delfi filed a lawsuit for violations of its freedom of opinion, after being ordered to pay a fine by the Estonian courts for allowing offensive user commentaries on its website. But the European judges confirmed that responsibility for user comments lay with the website.
Finland: A nation of avid newspaper readers
The media crisis and the upheavals in the media landscape are a subject of constant debate in Finland. Two controversial pieces of tax legislation were discussed particularly heatedly: the introduction of VAT for print products in 2012, initially 9, now 10 percent, and a year later the so-called Yle tax, named after Finland's radio and television broadcaster, which replaced the television licence fee based on ownership of a TV receiver. The newspaper publishers hold the introduction of VAT partly responsible for the decline in circulation, and even politicians in the governing party are now demanding that the rate at least be reduced.
France: unparalleled attacks on press freedom
On 7 January 2015 two Islamists forced their way into the editorial offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and killed twelve people. In the fight against terrorism France has tightened its surveillance laws, a measure with potential consequences also for journalists.
Germany: Lack of trust and new sources of financing
Threats and insults against journalists and editors have been on the rise for the past two years. The expression “Lügenpresse” [lying press] is gaining currency, particularly at events organized by Pegida and other far-right groups.
Great Britain: EU under constant fire
In June 2016, to the surprise of many observers, the majority of Britons voted for Brexit. This was precipitated by growing anti-EU sentiment in the country that had been fuelled to a large extent by British media.
Greece: Debt crisis compromises press freedom
The media market in Greece is highly concentrated. Print, TV and multi-media services are in the hands of just a few media groups and individuals. The major opinion-forming dailies have existed since the mid-twentieth century and are affiliated with political camps rather than with individual parties.
Hungary: press freedom undermined
Opposition media are under pressure in Hungary. A number of outlets have had to close down over the last few years, culminating in the closure of the leading opposition daily Népszabadság in 2016. Meanwhile the number of pro-government media outlets is rising steadily. Hungary dropped another two places on the 2016 Press Freedom Index of the organisation Reporters Without Borders.
Ireland: media concentrated in a few hands
In comparison with other western European countries Ireland’s print media displays a high level of concentration of media ownership. Almost half the daily and Sunday papers are owned by the Independent News and Media Group (INM), whose majority shareholder, businessman Denis O’Brien, also controls a number of radio stations.
Italy: television dominates public opinion
The Italian media, which has close ties to political and corporate interest groups as well as organised crime, is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few and dominated by television.
Latvia: little trust in the press
The Latvian media landscape is small but nonetheless lacks transparency, particularly with regard to media company ownership. Only since 2011 does this information have to be made public.
Lithuania: online media as beneficiaries of the crisis
Censorship was abolished in Lithuania even before the country's declaration of independence in 1990, giving the media a major role in the struggle for state sovereignty. During the 1990s the media were highly influential, as citizens strove for a free press. Circulations of 100,000 copies were not uncommon, a figure that media organisations in Lithuania can only dream of today.
Luxembourg: Subsidies for print and online media
Sinking readership numbers, vanishing advertising revenues and a lack of online business models are threatening the pluralistic media of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The state offers assistance for print media - but only a few are benefitting.
Malta: the media as a political mouthpiece
Europe's smallest member state, located south of Sicily with a population of 431,000, is one of the world's most densely populated countries. Relative to its population Malta has an extraordinarily diverse media landscape. There are fourteen daily and weekly newspapers, seven national television channels, more than a dozen radio stations and several web portals.
Poland: PIS tightening grip on media
Poland's media market has undergone dramatic changes since the national conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to power in the autumn of 2015. The party leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, sees state radio and television as vital instruments for pushing through his policies within society and the state, and has put his supporters in key posts at the state broadcasters.
Portugal: media advertising and jobs in decline
Hard hit by the economic and financial crisis, Portugal's media landscape has been struggling with declining advertising revenues and staff reductions for years. Several newspapers, including the prestigious business paper Diário Económico, which was market and opinion leader in the business and finance segment, have had to close or been restructured for financial reasons.
Romania: The power of the media moguls
Various members of Romania's media oligarchy have recently been sent to prison for corruption. Their media outlets are facing major financial problems and their credibility has been severely compromised.
Russia: Media under state control
Russia’s media is tightly controlled by the state. Television is the main source of information and almost all the country's TV channels are either owned directly by the state or by oligarchs and companies like Gazprom with close ties to the state.
Slovakia: A lack of media diversity
In Slovakia the few papers that are published nationwide dominate the political discourse. Television and radio play only a minor role and the Internet offers only limited options. The country suffers from a lack of media diversity as a result.
Slovenia: Cuts at the expense of quality
Slovenia's small media landscape is characterised by a high concentration of ownership. In the last two years the process of privatising Slovenia's daily papers which began after the break-up of former Yugoslavia has been completed.
Spain: new actors at the left end of the spectrum
Like the country as a whole, the Spanish media face huge challenges. Since the economic crisis of 2008 advertising revenues have dropped, circulation figures have plummeted and many newspapers have responded with massive layoffs and drastic pay cuts for reporters and editors.
Sweden: Huge cutbacks at print media
The drop in circulation at Swedish newspapers continues unabated. The larger papers are worst hit while free local papers are faring better and some have even been able to increase their circulations.
Switzerland: Fewer readers, less diversity
The news of Duke d'Estaing's military campaign in Grenada appeared as the lead story on 12 January 1780 in the first-ever issue of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (at that time still just Zürcher Zeitung). This marked the beginning of a free press in Switzerland. When the Swiss Federation was founded in 1848, freedom of the press was enshrined in its constitution. And to this day Switzerland still enjoys impressive levels of press freedom, despite the increasing concentration of ownership on the media market.
The Netherlands: a country of newspapers goes digital
God created the world but the Dutch created The Netherlands. This old Dutch saying could equally well be used to describe the country's highly innovative media landscape. Some of the new projects launched in the Netherlands are even causing a sensation internationally. Blendle, an online newspaper kiosk, is just one example.
Turkey: Most media back Erdoğan
Until just a few years ago Turkey had a dynamic media landscape that offered space to many different voices. But this diversity is disappearing. Through a combination of mass arrests, bans against newspapers and broadcasters and economic pressure, Ankara has brought most of the country's media into line with the government.