Guinea-Bissau | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

55

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

23

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

17

Status change explanation: Guinea-Bissau's rating improved from Not Free to Partly Free owing to a freer media environment and less official harassment under the new transitional government.

Improvements in the media environment and a relaxation of the political climate followed the ouster of President Kumba Yala in September 2003. Many of the restrictions on free expression and the operation of the private media imposed by Yala were lifted, private broadcasting was reestablished, and extrajudicial pressure on the press was scaled back. Businessman Henrique Rosa was appointed transitional president with the support of most political parties and civil society. Thus far, he has won wide acclaim within the country and outside for encouraging democratic progress. The year saw some advances in the restoration of civil and political rights in Guinea-Bissau. Unlike in 2003, there were no reports of journalists being dismissed or arrested and no reports of the government shuttering media outlets.

Private radio station Bombolom FM was back on the air after its closure in February 2003. The Portuguese-owned broadcaster RTP Africa concluded plans to return to the country and offer technical assistance to media agencies. Three privately run newspapers-Correio de Bissau, Fraskera, and Banobero-operate alongside the state-owned No Pintcha. Owing to financial constraints and government control of the only functioning printing house, newspapers publish only sporadically. There are three private radio broadcasters-Radio Pindjiguiti, Bombolom FM, and Voice of Quelele-and the state-run broadcaster, Radio Nacional. Television, is state run. The establishment of a vibrant press remains difficult in light of the fact that Guinea-Bissau remains one of the poorest countries in the world and the economy is heavily dependent on foreign aid.