Germany: Freedom Fling

The East German press is dying while being reborn

The press was among the first to benefit when freedom came to East Germany. Censorship fell with the Wall. Hard-line editors retired or were fired. The dull, gray Communist Party daily Neues Deutschland, so lickspittle that it once published 26 photos of Erich Honecker in a single edition, lightened up with a fresh design and uncensored stories. The daily Berliner Zeitung shed its communist ties and became East Berlin's liveliest and most popular newspaper. Junge Welt, once a loyal youth tabloid, turned muckraker overnight.

But for East German journalists, the good news has turned bad. Dozens of newspapers are on the...

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