Constitutional basis for Press and Information Office functions

German basic law

Constitutional basis

Photo: picture-alliance / dpa

"Everyone has a right to information."

Articles 5 and 20 of the German constitution, which set out the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, as well as the principle of democracy are the most important constitutional bases for the work done by the Press and Information Office.

Democratic decisions (elections in particular) presuppose an informed citizenry. Everyone has the right to obtain information from sources accessible to the general public.

All government institutions have a duty to engage in wide-ranging public information activities. This applies in significant measure to the federal government, which fulfills its responsibility to inform the public by distributing a wide range of documentary publications and brochures on government policies through the Press and Information Office.

In a ruling handed down on March 2, 1977 the Constitutional Court underscored the importance of government efforts to inform the public, saying that the government is under obligation to provide a comprehensive range of information on key issues. It is only in this way that individual citizens can know enough about decisions made, measures taken, and proposals put forward to be able to judge them and, thus, to approve or reject them. (Federal Constitutional Court Decision 44, 125 (164)).