Benin | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression are largely respected in practice. However, a 1997 criminal libel law remains on the books and has occasionally been used against journalists. The High Authority for Audio-Visual Communications, a government entity, is responsible for overseeing the operations of the media. Nevertheless, an independent and pluralistic press publishes articles highly critical of both government and opposition leaders and policies. Benin has a growing number of private newspapers and periodicals, more than 30 radio stations, and 2 television stations. However, the media remain subject to economic pressures. Journalists are poorly paid, and some are reportedly susceptible to bribery.