Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Ten lengthy articles in the Press Code detail scores of acts of defamation punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines of more than $100,000 for journalists, or confiscation and censorship of publications. The law restricts offensive reporting on national security and prohibits criticism of the monarchy, Islam, and Moroccan claims to Western Sahara. Broadcast media are mostly government-controlled, and those that are not practice self-censorship. Foreign broadcasting is available via satellite. The crackdown on independent media, which began last year, continued throughout 2001. Two directors of Le Journal Hebdomadaire were convicted of defaming the foreign minister and sentenced to two and three months in prison. The student newspaper of an Islamic group was seized. The editor of the weekly Demain magazine was threatened, its director sentenced to four months in prison, and the magazine later suspended indefinitely for criticizing the royal family. Issues of two French newspapers were banned and an Epoca photographer detained for coverage of Western Sahara. Authorities blocked access to one Web site. Internet access is mostly unrestricted but prohibitively expensive.