Madagascar | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Madagascar

Madagascar

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

50

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

19

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

16

Freedom of speech and of the press is enshrined in the constitution; however, the government limits these rights in practice. Defamation is a criminal offense, and journalists are occasionally prosecuted under these laws. Journalists are paid very poorly and often avoid reporting on the wealthy for fear of unsustainable legal costs. In addition, they are sometimes bribed by government officials or private companies to assure favorable coverage. According to the U.S. State Department, authorities occasionally pressure media outlets to curb their coverage of certain issues (particularly at the local level), and journalists report being threatened with physical violence or prosecution by both governmental and societal actors. Consequently, some journalists practice self-censorship.

Madagascar has six daily newspapers and a number of weeklies and monthlies; however, because of the low literacy rate, the print media are aimed primarily at the French-educated urban elite. Broadcast media are more widely consumed; nationwide radio and television broadcasting remains a state monopoly, but numerous local, privately owned stations operate throughout the country. However, opposition media are subject to seemingly arbitrary censure. In February, Radio Sava, owned by an opposition mayor, was ordered closed. Radio Say, a private station known for its independent editorial stance, suffered a similar fate in May for "broadcasting false news, defamation, and insults against the Speaker of the national assembly and a member of the government and breach of operating terms and conditions." Internet use, although not widespread, is becoming more popular.