Freedom of the Press
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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)
Although the constitution provides for freedom of expression, this right is restricted in practice. The law allows the government to initiate criminal libel proceedings against persons who insult the president or prime minister, defame institutions of the state, or undermine the reputation of the nation. The National Press Commission is charged with enforcing regulations relating to the creation and ownership of the media. Dozens of independent newspapers, many of which have links to political parties, criticize official policies freely, while state-owned newspapers and a state-run broadcasting system are usually unreservedly pro-government. Press freedom suffered in 2002, as the media was caught in the midst of a protracted political crisis sparked by a military uprising in late September. Shortly after the crisis erupted, the government jammed the broadcasts of several foreign news broadcasters, accusing them of attempting to destabilize the country. A number of local and foreign journalists were assaulted by mobs or security forces, or were detained by the police. On September 21, supporters of the ruling party beat Mamadou Keita, a reporter for the opposition newspaper Le Patriote. A group of some 50 people ransacked and looted the offices of the private Mayama media group, publisher of three pro-opposition publications. Continuing threats and physical harassment led to increased self-censorship on the part of the media by the end of the year.