Maldives | 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)


Press freedom is restricted by a strict legal code that the government did not hesitate to enforce in 2002. The law authorizes officials to close newspapers and sanction journalists for insulting Islam, threatening national security, or publishing libelous statements. The penal code bans speech and publications that could "arouse people against the government," while other regulations make editors criminally responsible for the content of the material they publish. Four Internet writers were arrested early in the year, and after being held in detention and charged with defamation in May, three were sentenced to life imprisonment. In this environment, many journalists practice self-censorship, although some private newspapers criticize government policy. All broadcast media are owned and operated by the government.