Freedom of the Press

Mauritania

Mauritania

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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

61

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

23

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

17

The constitution provides for freedom of expression, but the 1991 press law forbids the publication or dissemination of reports deemed to "attack the principles of Islam or the credibility of the state, harm the general interest, or disturb public order and security." All publishers must register with the Interior Ministry and submit copies of newspapers to the ministry for review and possible prepublication censorship. A number of newspapers were banned or seized during the year. Journalists are also sometimes subjected to harassment and arbitrary arrest at the hands of authorities. Independent print media outlets openly criticize the government. However, state-owned media outlets, including two daily newspapers as well as radio and television broadcasters, slant coverage to favor the ruling party and sometimes limit opposition parties' access. Foreign television broadcasts are available via satellite, and a number of Internet service providers operate without government restrictions.