Burundi | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Although the transitional constitution provides for freedom of expression, the 1997 press law authorizes prepublication censorship and forbids the dissemination of "information inciting civil disobedience or serving as propaganda for enemies of the Burundian nation during a time of war." The state-run National Communication Council, which is charged with regulating the media, occasionally bans or suspends independent publications and restricts permissible reporting. In May, the media were barred from broadcasting interviews with rebel groups. In addition, reporters remain vulnerable to official harassment, detention, and violence, and many practice self-censorship. In March, police assaulted two journalists covering a demonstration and subjected one to arrest and questioning. The government owns and operates the main broadcast media as well as the country's only regularly published newspaper. Private publications and radio stations function sporadically, but some, such as Radio Publique Africaine, manage to present diverse and balanced views.