The preamble Press ( press medium pressa and French) is derived from the printing press from the time of the analog printing technology and originally referred to the whole of all common printing products ( pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, magazines, books, posters). In the second half of the 19th century the term began gradually to assume the meaning "whole of the printed newspapers and magazines ". Another - outmoded - expression is " newspaper world."
The frequently referred to as the fourth power of the press institution has (derived from the separated within the separation of powers of government -legislative, executive and judicial ) in a democratic society a significant influence on public opinion and political decisions. Therefore all liberal conditions (in Germany in Article 5 of the Basic Law ) guarantee freedom of the press as a basic right. The German Federal Constitutional Court referred in its case-law of a free press as "absolutely constituent " for democracy.
Today, the press is for the totality of all newspapers and magazines in whatever form and for the related news and opinion beings. In certain combinations of words (such as media relations, press secretary, press conference, etc.) the part of word "press" in a broader sense, stands for the ensemble of all public mass media (including radio, television and Internet).
The guarantee of freedom of information is in the press based on a provision of information through investigative journalism, in particular research, which in the past number of problems in politics could be detected ( for example, the Watergate scandal in the U.S. or the Spiegel affair in Germany ).
The advantages of a free and uninfluenced press the disadvantages of market orientation with respect to: encourage the pursuit of high circulation figures and the binding of the reader to the product or voyeuristic sensation- oriented reporting in the rainbow and tabloids. Increasing regional monopolizing outside the big cities and the subtle dependence of publisher interests are regarded by some as a threat to freedom of the press - especially if political parties are owners of newspapers. ( See also media democracy. )
The German Press in 1973 published a Press Code, which was last amended in 2008.