Benin | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech are largely respected in practice. However, a 1997 criminal libel law is occasionally used against journalists. Such was the case on April 1, 2003, when four journalists of Le Telegramme were detained and beaten by police who accused them of publishing a letter critical of police authorities. Benin's private press observed a "day without media" on April 7 to protest the incident. While the High Authority for Audio-Visual Media and Communications, a government entity, is responsible for oversight of media operations, media outlets are relatively free to criticize the government without interference. Benin has an active and growing privately owned press with more than 20 daily newspapers, 30 private radio stations, and several broadcast television stations. A national new information and communication technologies policy was adopted in February 2003. Despite a prolific and independent press, journalistic integrity occasionally falls victim to bribery and blackmail as a result of financial pressures.