Freedom of the Press

Malawi

Malawi

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

54

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

21

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

14

Despite government guarantees of press freedom, there were attacks on the news media in 2001. Officials launched three charges of defamation against The Chronicle newspaper. The printer and editor of The Dispatch newspaper were arrested on charges of publishing "false information." Threatening printers raised the likelihood they would refuse thereafter to publish opposition papers. Similarly, vendors of The Dispatch were arrested for selling the newspaper. A pro-government journalist was threatened and beaten, and another journalist was threatened by suspected officials of the ruling party. In November, the Daily Times reported that the United Democratic Front (UDF) had drawn up a list of journalists to be assaulted for discrediting the ruling party. Whether or not this account was accurate, the fact that it was given credence by the reputable Media Institute of Southern Africa indicates the lowered credibility of the government vis a vis the news media. In the face of harassment, diverse opinion is reflected in the country's two dozen newspapers. The state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation controls television and most radio service, which reach a larger audience than do the print media. There are four private radio stations.