South Africa | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

South Africa

South Africa

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Freedom of expression and the press is protected in the constitution and is generally respected. However, several apartheid-era laws that remain in effect permit authorities to restrict the publication of information about the police, national defense forces, and other institutions, while the Criminal Procedure Act compels journalists to reveal sources. A variety of private newspapers and magazines are sharply critical of the government, political parties, and other societal actors. Radio broadcasting has been dramatically liberalized, with scores of small community radio stations now operating. The state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is today far more independent than during apartheid, but still suffers from self-censorship. Press freedom groups expressed concern that provisions in the proposed Broadcasting Amendment Bill could further impinge on the editorial independence of the SABC. Reporters continue to be subjected to occasional instances of threats and harassment.