Political turmoil following the hotly contested December 2001 presidential election took its toll on the media during the first half of 2002. In February, President Didier Ratsiraka declared a state of emergency, which empowered authorities to take control of news broadcasting. Threats and violent attacks directed at members of the press and media outlets increased sharply during the crisis, but largely subsided by July. A number of daily and weekly newspapers publish material critical of the government and other parties and politicians. However, authorities occasionally pressure media outlets to curb their coverage of certain issues, opposition politicians are rarely given access to state-run media, and some journalists practice self-censorship. Although nationwide radio and television broadcasting remains a state monopoly, a large number of local, privately owned stations operate across the country.