Points:18 // Status: Free

25 - Portugal

There are around 300 privately owned local and regional radio stations. Commercial television has been making gains in recent years, providing serious competition for the underfunded public broadcasting channels. The internet penetration rate in Portugal reached about 62 percent in 2013. Many prominent journalists and politicians contribute to social media and blogs.

The media in Portugal have felt the impact of the persistent economic crisis, suffering from advertising losses and shrinking print circulation. This has led some media outlets to enter into financial arrangements that may compromise their independence. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported in March 2013 on a significant influx of Angolan money into Portugal’s media sector.


According to CPJ, Portuguese outlets are under pressure to self-censor and avoid antagonizing their Angolan patrons, whose investments are critical to their continued operation. The lack of job security for many younger journalists makes them more vulnerable to self-censorship and pressure regarding content. 

Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution and laws that forbid insults to the government of Army are rarely used against journalists. A great deal of government information is, in practice, freely accessible, although the law forbids the news coverage or commentary of ongoing court investigations or trials.


The media are generally free from political interference. However, current and former politicians often act as political commentators, and political parties rely increasingly on pundits to promote their agendas.  Cases of physical harassment or intimidation of journalists are rare.


Defamation and libel are criminal offenses under Articles 180 and 181 of the penal code, and penalties are increased by one half if the offended party is a public official. In May 2013, journalist Miguel Sousa Tavares was under investigation for an interview with Jornal de Negócios, in which he called President Aníbal Cavaco Silva a “clown”, though the matter was later dropped.