A new penal code was introduced in 2004 that enhances criminal investigation procedures, but no changes were made to laws concerning freedom of expression. The constitution guarantees press freedom, and the government generally respects this in practice, but a 1999 constitutional amendment excludes the use of freedom of expression as a defense in defamation cases. The last press freedom case was reported in November 2002 with the conviction of the A Semana for defamation; the case is still under appeal.
There are four newspapers, three privately owned and one owned by the state. Two of the three television stations are foreign owned, while the other television station is a government-owned outfit. Six of the seven radio stations are privately owned. Scrutiny of government by the press is generally limited, although some of the privately owned radio stations do criticize the government occasionally. Opposition politicians complain of limited access to state-owned media, although in nationwide municipal elections held in March, the ruling Party for the Independence of Cape Verde suffered a big loss. Although resource-poor, the economy has made a rapid transition in recent years with expatriate Cape Verdeans pumping money into the country.