Mozambique | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The 1990 constitution provides for press freedom but restricts this right according to respect for the constitution, human dignity, the imperatives of foreign policy, and national defense. Some journalists have alleged that the Higher Council of Social Communication, an enforcement body for the press law that is dominated by the ruling party, has attempted to promote self-censorship among members of the press. Criminal libel laws are sometimes used to prosecute media outlets for defamation, which serves as another important deterrent to open expression. In November, the parliament approved an amended constitution that guarantees a diversity of views in state-run media.

Reporters continue to be subjected to some threats and intimidation at the hands of officials. In May, Oliveira Malei of Licunga Community Radio was suspended and forcibly transferred to another town by the district administrator of Mocuba, Zambezia Province, after he criticized the state of Mocuba's roads and funeral services. That same month, a journalist for the independent local paper Faisca was briefly detained and accused of libel for an article he wrote quoting the chairman of the Mozambican Human Rights League as saying that there was "unprecedented corruption" in the provincial chief attorney's office (the chairman himself was later detained and released because of the quote). Also in May, Anibal Antonio dos Santos, the convicted killer of prominent journalist Carlos Cardoso, escaped from a high-security prison in Maputo, where he had been serving a 28-year sentence. He was captured later that month at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and has sought asylum in Canada. The Mozambican government is currently seeking his extradition.

The private media have enjoyed moderate growth and some newspapers routinely criticize the government, but publications in Maputo have little influence on the largely illiterate rural population. The state owns or influences all of the largest newspapers and also controls nearly all broadcast media. Although state-owned media have displayed greater editorial independence in recent years and media coverage of national elections in December was more evenhanded, the opposition receives inadequate coverage on national radio and television. Only a fraction of the population has access to the Internet because of a scarcity of electricity and computers.