Angola | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Angola

Angola

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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

65

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

25

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

21

Media restrictions have become less stringent following the 2002 cease-fire between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)-led government and UNITA rebels. However, despite constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press, the press law restricts that freedom, and government pledges to reform media legislation have not yet been realized. Libel of the president or his representatives is a criminal offense punishable by high fines or imprisonment. Authorities can suspend a publication for up to a year if it has published three articles that lead to defamation convictions within a three-year period. Particularly in the interior of the country, the judicial system has little independence to enforce legislation guaranteeing press freedom. However, in February the Supreme Court in Luanda overturned the 2004 defamation conviction of the editor of the independent weekly Semanario Angolense. The Law on State Secrecy permits the government to classify information, at times unnecessarily, and those who publish classified information are prosecuted. Private media are often denied access to official information or events. A special committee has policy and censorship authority over the media.

Although the government generally tolerates criticism from private media, 2005 saw several high-ranking government officials pressure independent media to cover the government in a more favorable light. In April, Deputy Minister of Communications Miguel de Carvalho warned journalists at the state-run newspaper Jornal de Angola (the country's only daily) not to criticize the government or give equal coverage to opposition parties; although he was later repudiated by the minister of communications, the Media Institute of Southern Africa found that positive coverage of the government and the ruling MPLA in Jornal de Angola increased significantly in the following months. In October, National Assembly president Roberto de Almeida