Oman | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Freedom of press remains restricted by the dominance of Oman's politics and society by its ruler Sultan Qaboos, now well into his fourth decade of rule, and 2003 did not see major openings for press freedom. Although the Basic Charter provides for freedom of press, government laws and actions tightly restrict this freedom in practice. Criticism of the sultan is prohibited by law. Oman's government permits private print publications, although many of these publications accept government subsidies. Journalists frequently practice self-censorship to avoid problems with government authorities. Despite recent demands from some members of the royal family to allow private television and radio stations, the government owns and controls all broadcast media, which have the widest reach with the Omani population. The government allowed state television to broadcast sessions in which members of the Consultative Council questioned government ministers. The number of Omani households with access to satellite television has increased, permitting a greater diversity of information sources, although this information chiefly concerns regional issues. Omanis can gain access to the Internet through the national telecommunications company, but the company blocks sites considered politically sensitive or pornographic.