Malawi | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Freedom of speech and of the press is legally guaranteed and generally respected in practice. However, the independent media did face growing restrictions and harassment at the hands of the government and its supporters during the year. Defamation charges as well as charges based on other laws have been used to prosecute members of the press. As a result, some journalists practice self-censorship. Although a broad spectrum of opinion is presented in some two dozen private newspapers, the state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation controls television and most radio service, where coverage favors the ruling party. Reporters and media outlets faced verbal threats as well as physical attacks at the hands of police, senior politicians, and supporters of the ruling party throughout 2002, most commonly because of their opposition to President Elson Muluzi's attempt to run for a third term in office. Other forms of official intimidation included a threat to withdraw the broadcasting license of a community radio station and the impounding of a publishing house's assets.