Constitution of the Portuguese Republic

Body: 

Article 37 (Freedom of expression and information) (1) Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination. (2) Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship. (3) Infractions committed in the exercise of the said rights shall be subject to the general principles of the criminal law or the law governing administrative offences, and shall be brought before the courts of law or an independent administrative body respectively, as laid down by law. (4) Every person and body corporate shall be equally and effectively guaranteed the right of reply and to make corrections, as well as the right to compensation for damages suffered. Article 38 (Freedom of press and media) (1) The freedom of the press shall be guaranteed. (2) Freedom of the press shall mean: (a) Journalists and other staff’s freedom of expression and creativity, as well as journalists’ freedom to take part in determining the editorial policy of the media body in question, save when it is doctrinal or denominational in nature; (b) Journalists’ right, as laid down by law, to gain access to sources of information and to the protection of professional independence and secrecy, as well as their right to elect editorial boards; (c) The right to found newspapers and any other publications, regardless of any prior administrative authorisation, bond or qualification. (3) In generic terms, the law shall ensure that the names of the owners of media bodies and the means by which those bodies are financed are publicised. (4) The state shall ensure the media’s freedom and independence from political power and economic power by imposing the principle of specialisation on businesses that own general information media, treating and supporting them in a non-discriminatory manner and preventing their concentration, particularly by means of multiple or interlocking interests. (5) The state shall ensure the existence and operation of a public radio and television service. (6) The structure and operation of public sector media shall safeguard their independence from the Government, the Public Administration and the other public authorities, and shall ensure that all the different currents of opinion are able to express themselves and to confront one another. (7) Radio and television broadcasting stations shall only operate with licenses that are granted under public calls for tender, as laid down by law. Article 39 (Regulation of the media) (1) An independent administrative body shall be responsible for ensuring the following in the media: (a) The right to information and the freedom of the press; (b) The non-concentration of ownership of the media; (c) Independence from political power and economic power; (d) Respect for personal rights, freedoms and guarantees; (e) Respect for the statutes and rules that regulate the work of the media; (f) That all different currents of opinion are able to express themselves and confront one another; (g) Exercise of the rights to broadcasting time, of reply and of political response. (2) The law shall define the composition, responsibilities, organisation and modus operandi of the body referred to in the previous paragraph, together with the status and role of its members, who shall be appointed by the Assembly of the Republic and coopted by those so appointed. Article 40 (Rights of broadcasting time, of reply and of political response) (1) Political parties, trade unions, professional and business organisations and other organisations with a national scope shall, in accordance with their size and representativity and with objective criteria that shall be defined by law, possess the right to broadcasting time on the public radio and television service. (2) Political parties that hold one or more seats in the Assembly of the Republic and do not form part of the Government shall, as laid down by law, possess the right to broadcasting time on the public radio and television service, which shall be apportioned in accordance with each party’s proportional share of the seats in the Assembly, as well as to reply or respond politically to the Government’s political statements. Such times shall be of the same duration and prominence as those given over to the Government’s broadcasts and statements. Parties with seats in the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions shall enjoy the same rights within the ambit of the region in question. 3. During elections and as laid down by law, candidates shall possess the right to regular and equitable broadcasting time on radio and television stations with a national or regional scope.

Type of law: 
National constitutional law
Charter article: 
Country: 
Portugal