Seychelles | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Seychelles

Seychelles

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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

60

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

21

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

19

The constitution provides for freedom of speech but also restricts this right by protecting the reputation, rights, and privacy of citizens as well as the "interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health." These restrictions have limited freedom of the press, particularly because libel charges can easily be filed to penalize journalists. The law also allows the minister of information to prohibit the broadcast of any material that is against the "national interest." The Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, the state-controlled media regulation body, continued to ban a local singer's music on the grounds that it was seditious.

The only significant opposition newspaper, the weekly Regar, has been repeatedly brought to court on libel charges carrying steep monetary penalties, though no new libel suits were filed in 2005. However, on December 8, the paper was the target of an arson attack that seriously damaged its printing press. The editor of Regar, Roger Mancienne, claimed that the attack was "an attempt to censor us that clearly had a political motive" in the run-up to the presidential elections scheduled for 2006.

The government owns the country's only daily newspaper, the Nation, which adheres closely to official policy. The state also has a de facto monopoly over the widely consumed broadcast media, and private broadcasters have been slow to develop because of restrictive licensing fees of more than $185,000 per year. Telecommunications companies must submit subscriber information to the government, and the internet is available and unrestricted in Seychelles for the quarter of the population that had internet access in 2005.