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)
Status change explanation: Cape Verde's rating fell from Free to Partly Free to reflect the continued influence of the government over the broadcast media and of the ruling party over the privately owned media, both of which have contributed to reports of growing self-censorship among journalists.
Press freedom is guaranteed in the constitution and is generally respected by the government. A 1999 constitutional amendment excludes the use of freedom of expression as a defense in defamation cases. In November 2002, the newspaper A Semana was charged with and found guilty of defamation for an article that accused judges and public prosecutors of accepting bribes. At the end of 2003, this case was still under appeal with the Supreme Court. While the law requires a formal licensing mechanism for mass media, no government authorization is needed for print publications. There are three independent newspapers and one state-owned newspaper. Cape Verde also has one government-owned and six independent radio stations and one state- and two foreign-owned television stations. However, the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde continues to control the main privately owned news media while the government dominates television broadcasting. The past year has seen reports of growing self-censorship on the part of journalists working at privately owned media outlets. This trend may be accentuated by the fact that in a stagnant economic environment, many journalists are able to find only short-term contract employment at state-owned media agencies that do not criticize the government.