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"The German Federation of Journalists recommends journalists to avoid until further notice the use of search engines and e-mail services from Google and Yahoo for their research and digital communication," the union said in a statement.
It cited "scandalous" reports of interception of both companies' web traffic by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain's GCHQ.
"The searches made by journalists are just as confidential as the contact details of their sources and the contents of their communication with them," said Michael Konken, head of the union which represents about 38,000 journalists. He said there were safe alternatives for both searches and email. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the NSA had tapped directly into communications links used by Google and Yahoo to move large amounts of email and other user information between overseas data centres. It said the program was operated jointly with GCHQ.