Freedom of the Press

South Africa

South Africa

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


One of the world's most liberal constitutions protects freedom of the press. Laws allow the government to restrict reporting on the police, national defense forces and other institutions. Laws also compel journalists to reveal sources. Several were subpoenaed this year, but one refused to testify and was not indicted. One minister sued a journalist for alleged defamation. One reporter was physically assaulted. The ruling African National Congress members of parliament directed several attacks on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SADC). The SADC, which was a government mouthpiece during the apartheid era, is more independent today. In mid-year, the legislature considered an Interception and Monitoring Bill, which would empower the police, the National Defense Force, the Intelligence Agency, and the Secret Service to maintain electronic monitoring centers. Under the Criminal Procedures Act already in force authorities have seized journalists' equipment and compelled them to reveal sources.