Freedom of the Press
You are here
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)
Despite constitutional protection, freedom of speech is often restricted by the government. Slander is prohibited, and other laws that forbid the dissemination of "false information" and regulate the publication of newspapers have been used against the independent press. The government owns the country's principal newspaper, La Nation. Opposition-run private publications are generally allowed to circulate freely and criticize some official policies. However, journalists generally self-censor coverage of sensitive issues (such as human rights, the army, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy, relations with Ethiopia, and French financial aid) from fear of prosecution. In June, police arrested journalist Houssein Ahmed Farah after he was ordered to stop his vehicle during the passage of the First Lady's motorcade. Farah, a staff member of the newspaper Le Renouveau, was subsequently charged with "endangering the First Lady's procession" and incarcerated. His brother is Le Renouveau editor in chief Daher Ahmed Farah, who has frequently been jailed on similarly specious charges. Legal action aimed at closing his paper is currently under way in the Supreme Court. The government owns all broadcast media, which are generally uncritical of state policies, as well as the country's sole Internet service provider. International radio broadcasts are available. In general, journalists are poorly paid and lack adequate training.