Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The government continued to crack down on independent broadcasters. The regime has moved slowly to approve frequencies to replace nearly 200 radio and television outlets shut down in 1996. Approval of only five TV channels has included three owned by government figures. Only six radio stations have been licensed to carry news. Print media are independent of the government, though their coverage often reflects the views of local and foreign groups that finance them. "Insult" laws prohibit negative coverage of the head of state or foreign leaders. All foreign print media are subject to government approval. Individual journalists faced official harassment. A Lebanese-American journalist was charged with "dealing with the enemy." Her passport was cancelled and she faced imprisonment after participating in a Washington seminar that included an Israeli. Undercover security agents beat several journalists covering an anti-Syria protest. In separate cases, several journalists were sued for "defaming the army" and photographers were beaten for covering protests. In December, two journalists faced the death penalty for "contacts with the Israeli enemy."