Freedom of the Press

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

45

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

16

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

17

Freedom of the press is provided for in the constitution. However, television and radio continue to be dominated by the ruling Antigua Labour Party (ALP) and the Bird family, which have ruled the country for more than four decades. At state-controlled broadcast media outlets, the government frequently sets the editorial policy. Print media are considered freer and more vibrant than broadcast media. The government limits the opposition's access to broadcast media and has in the past interfered with attempts by individuals to establish independent media sources. The country's first independent radio station, Observer Radio, began broadcasting in 2001 after a five-year struggle with the government to gain a license. Prime Minister Lester Bird filed a $3 million lawsuit against the Observer media group and opposition leader Baldwin Spencer for "libelous fabrications" in conjunction with the drug and sex offense accusations made against him and members of the government. The Declaration of Chapultepec on press freedoms was signed in 2002. Despite this, media ownership remains highly concentrated and economically dependent on the ALP and the state.