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)
Although the transitional constitution provides for freedom of expression, the government restricts this right in practice. While a new press law, enacted in late 2003, has been hailed by journalists as an improvement, it continues to authorize prepublication censorship and greatly restricts the media's ability to report on sensitive issues and express views that diverge from those of the government. The state-run National Communication Council, which is charged with regulating the media, occasionally bans or suspends independent publications and restricts permissible reporting. In March 2003, all radio stations were barred from broadcasting interviews with or messages from two rebel groups. As a result, the government temporarily suspended Radio Insanganiro in September for airing an interview with a rebel group spokesman, accusing the station of "endangering national unity." The suspension sparked protest from other independent media. Nevertheless, three days later the government suspended Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) for a similar offense. In addition, reporters remain vulnerable to official harassment, detention, and violence, and many practice self-censorship. The government owns and operates the main broadcast media as well as the country's only regularly published newspaper. Private publications and radio stations function sporadically, but some, such as RPA, manage to present diverse and balanced views.