Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Conditions for the media continued to improve in 2003 as the consolidation of peace progressed following the signing of an accord between the government and rebel fighters in 2002. Although the constitution states that the media cannot be subjected to censorship, the government does not always respect this provision in practice. Defamation of the president or his representatives is a criminal offense for which there is no truth defense; it is punishable by imprisonment or fines. In January, the government threatened legal action against the privately owned weekly Angolense, citing the magazine's publication of several articles accusing 59 top government figures of corruption and embezzlement. Reporters continue to face various forms of official harassment, including the confiscation of travel documents and limitations on the right to travel. However, incidents of arbitrary arrest, detention, physical attacks, and other tactics of severe government repression have decreased substantially in the postwar period. Although some journalists practice self-censorship when reporting on sensitive issues, the private print and broadcast media are generally free to scrutinize government policies. State-owned outlets, including the only television station, dominate the Angolan media and favor the ruling party. However, in 2003 the government announced plans to open the television sector to privately owned broadcasters. In the recent past, the government has reportedly paid journalists to publish complimentary stories and has discouraged advertisers from buying space in independent newspapers, thus threatening their financial viability.