Confessional German media at risk


Central Europe


Photo AFP, Jens Schlueter

The survival of confessional media in Germany is “endangered”. This is due to rising costs and an outdated readership.

The German Media Association of the Free Press (MVFP) stated that last week during its annual press conference in Berlin. The Christian magazine PRO reported on it as well.

If the current development continues, the existence of 30 per cent of the professional media, up to 80 per cent of the confessional media and 20 per cent of the consumer magazines will be endangered by 2024. This is apparent from an analysis of the Christian magazine industry carried out by the association in 2021. The MVFP represents approximately 7,000 journal titles.

The association expects that most of the denominational titles, including diocese newspapers and church magazines, will no longer remain profitable. These magazines have a somewhat older readership that will shrink in the coming years. Interest in topics such as faith and church is declining among young people. Rising energy and paper prices and increasing costs for postal delivery also play a role.

Since the analysis was conducted in 2021, rising energy prices have not been included. This could put some individual publishers in dire straits, said Stephan Scherzer, director of the MVFP. The association estimates that there are more than 2300 titles involved. “The risk of irreparable damage to press freedom and press diversity in our country is great. A healthy democracy needs healthy publishers. The free press is essential to the stability and diversity of our pluralistic society.”

Not too little Christianity

According to Bild journalist Daniel Böcking, there is not too little Christianity in the media, however. He said so in an interview with the Christian German magazine PRO. “There is a misunderstanding among Christians that their voice is not sufficiently recognized in the secular media”, Böcking said. Böcking cited the regular Bild column by the Lutheran theologian Margot Käßmann and his own Bild article from 2015 “Why I want to come out as a Christian today” as an example. It has been read more than 100,000 times so far and has received a large number of letters.

Christoph Irion, managing director of PRO, listed some TV church services. According to him, it is just a question of using the time you have on-air in an efficient manner. “A current example is the show “The Passion”. “There was criticism in the media, but I am convinced that millions of people in Germany talked about Jesus the next day,” said Irion about the event. Lots of young people watched. The examples showed: “It is not the failure of the media that Christians are not getting their message across. We can, however, influence how she comes across.”



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