Suriname | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Suriname

Suriname

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

23

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

12

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

The government of Suriname generally respects freedom of expression and of the press, as provided for in the country's constitution. However, little investigative journalism takes place, and some journalists practice self-censorship on certain issues, particularly drug trafficking and the human rights abuses that took place under the Desi Bouterse dictatorship. In December, a judicial ruling increased concerns about censorship. The national independent newspaper, De West, lost a libel suit brought against it by the Foreign Exchange Commission for an article that alleged corruption within the Commission; soon after, De West voluntarily published a retraction of the original article. However, in an unprecedented move, a judge ordered De West to publish another correction and apology in De Ware Tijd, the nation's only other daily newspaper and the publication with the highest circulation in the country. In addition, the Foreign Exchange Commission asked De West's editor to sign a memorandum of understanding that the paper would not publish further stories about the commission without prior approval. As a mark of protest against what was perceived as attempted censorship, De Ware Tijd refused to publish the retraction, and De West's editor declined to sign the memorandum. The Association of Surinamese Journalists reported that although the media are much freer than under the Bouterse dictatorship in the 1980s, poor salaries and lack of training for journalists are undermining the profession. There are seven radio stations and a number of community radio stations. Both television stations and one of the radio stations are state owned. There are no government restrictions on the internet though only 6 percent of the population was able to access it in 2005.