Freedom of the Press
Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Following the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in February and the signing of a peace accord between the government and rebel fighters in March, conditions for the media eased somewhat in 2002. Although the constitution states that the media cannot be subjected to censorship, the government does not always respect this provision in practice. Defamation of the president or his representatives is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment or fines. In January, a court ordered freelance journalist Rafael Marques to pay $950 as well as all legal costs pertaining to the trial, after he was found guilty of defaming President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in a 1999 article. Reporters continue to face various forms of official harassment, including the confiscation of travel documents and limitations on the right to travel; arbitrary arrest and detention; and physical attacks. While some journalists practice self-censorship when reporting on sensitive issues, the private print and broadcast media are generally free to scrutinize government policies. However, coverage at state-owned outlets favors the ruling party. The government has reportedly paid journalists to publish complimentary stories and has discouraged advertisers from buying space in independent newspapers, thus threatening their financial viability.