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)


Rights to freedom of expression and of the press are not always supported in practice, though the constitution guarantees such rights. Libel and slander are regarded as criminal acts, and are punished by imprisonment as well as fines. A number of journalists were arrested and detained throughout the year for allegedly insulting government officials. In June, the publication director of the satirical weekly Le Canard Dechaine was sentenced to eight months in prison on libel charges. In addition, the government cracked down on the press following an armed forces mutiny in August. A presidential decree had banned "the propagation of information or allegations likely to be detrimental to the implementation of national defense operations" and had threatened media outlets with suspension or closure if they violated the ban. Authorities detained two reporters for their coverage of the mutiny and held both without charge. Although coverage in the state-owned broadcast and print media reflects official priorities, a number of private publications freely criticize the government. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that in late 2001, the press corps expressed concern over a new finance law that imposed heavy taxes on private news outlets.