Mozambique | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Mozambique

Mozambique

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

43

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

17

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

14

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, a press legislation enforcement body 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; seven suits for defamation and libel were brought against newspapers in 2005. While defamation of the president is illegal, no journalists were charged with this violation during the year. In August, the government presented a draft Freedom of Information law, the product of five years of consultations with journalists and press freedom advocates.

Journalists continue to be subject to threats, harassment, and detention at the hands of officials and nonstate actors. In January, television journalist Jeremias Langa was kidnapped and threatened with death by unidentified assailants for his political reporting. Police were also complicit in other instances of harassment: in February two journalists from the Beira daily Diario de Mocambique were detained after photographing a police operation; and in June, Luis Muianga, a photojournalist with Zambeze, was beaten by police in Maputo. Developments concerning the 2000 murder of prominent journalist Carlos Cardoso continued in 2005. Anibal Antonio dos Santos Jr., convicted of Cardoso's murder, returned to Mozambique after being apprehended in Canada in January following his escape from a Maputo prison in 2004; dos Santos's retrial began in December. In March, journalists were barred from covering a libel trial connected to the murder. The Media Institute of Southern Africa condemned the barring.

The private media have enjoyed moderate growth in recent years, and independent newspapers routinely provide scrutiny of the government. However, 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. While state-owned media-including broadcast outlets Radio Mozambique and Televisao de Mozambique and the national daily Noticias-have displayed greater editorial independence, the opposition still receives inadequate coverage. Internet access is unrestricted, though only a fraction of the population has access because of a scarcity of electricity and computers.