Cameroon | 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)


The constitution provides for freedom of the press, but the penal code specifies that defamation, contempt, and dissemination of false news are punishable by prison terms and harsh fines, and the regime frequently uses libel laws to silence the independent print media. Nevertheless, at least 20 private newspapers publish regularly and are critical of the government. Ten years after the National Assembly passed a bill liberalizing the broadcast media, President Paul Biya signed the legislation into force in 2001. Despite prohibitive licensing fees, a number of private radio stations have applied for a license, while others continue to broadcast illegally. Coverage on the state-run media favors the ruling party, and reporters working at these news outlets have been punished for criticizing government policies. Although direct repression of the independent press eased somewhat during the year, journalists continued to be subject to some official harassment as well as arbitrary arrest and detention.