Belize | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Belize

Belize

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

20

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

7

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

5

Belize has a free and open media system, although laws allow for some government control. The government may imprison (up to three years) or fine (up to $2,500) journalists or others who write in a critical way about the public financial disclosures of government officials. The Belize Broadcasting Authority also has the right to prior restraint of all broadcasts for national security reasons or reasons of national emergency. However, the government has not moved against journalists or invoked these rights for many years. There are no daily newspapers in Belize, but there is a lively market for weeklies, with 10 circulating nationally or regionally. Two weeklies are supported directly by political parties. The country also has 10 radio stations, some of which are networked nationally, and 2 television networks, along with a variety of cable outlets. There were no direct threats to journalists like the problems experienced by investigative reporter Melvin Flores in 2003. Flores fled to the United States after receiving threats because of his reporting on corruption. The media scene is notable for its diversity of opinions, with little or no fear of government reprisals for criticism.