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)


Despite the 2000 law recognizing basic guarantees of press freedom, President Mugabe's year-long crackdown on newspapers and journalists, and his continuing control of broadcast and Internet services significantly reduced press freedom even below the preceding year's diminished level. Accreditation restrictions introduced in June limit access to the country by foreign reporters. Violence against domestic journalists and expulsion of foreign reporters said to be linked to "terrorism" paralleled the harsh rhetoric of the ZANU-PF ruling party's and the government's targeting of the press. The independent Daily News, one of the staunchest critics of the government, suffered a series of attacks in 2001. Its editor is facing several criminal defamation charges and its reporters have been arrested and beaten on numerous occasions. In November, Mugabe's regime introduced a draconian law in parliament that would further curtail the operation of the news media. The Freedom of Information Bill would require all journalists to apply for a one-year, renewable license to be allowed to work. Journalists would also be required to follow a stringent "code of ethics" and could be fined or imprisoned for not following it.