Freedom of the Press

Gabon

Gabon

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

58

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

20

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

18

The government sometimes restricts freedom of expression in spite of a constitutional provision that press freedom be respected. The communications code specifies the responsibilities as well as the rights of journalists. The state is authorized by law to initiate criminal libel proceedings against those who defame elected government officials and is also permitted to criminalize civil libel suits. The National Communications Council (CNC), a government agency charged with upholding journalistic standards, regularly suspends the publication or broadcasting licenses of media outlets. In September, the CNC banned two independent weeklies for three months after they published reports on alleged official corruption. The government owns the only daily newspaper as well as the majority of broadcast media outlets. At least 10 private publications, some of which are controlled by opposition political parties, publish irregularly, while financial considerations limit the viability of the independent broadcast media. International press freedom advocates have reported that President Omar Bongo uses state subsidies to reward pro-government independent media outlets and that some journalists are susceptible to bribery.