Freedom of the Press
Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Status change explanation: Cape Verde’s rating improved from Partly Free to Free as a result of the continued consolidation of democratic trends leading to greater opening in the media environment and a decrease in the number of cases of legal harassment of, and attacks on, journalists.
The constitution directly provides for freedom of the press, as well as confidentiality of sources, access to information, and freedom from arbitrary arrest. In recent years, the government has consistently demonstrated its ability to respect and protect these rights in practice, making Cape Verde an exemplary country in Africa. A 1999 constitutional amendment still excludes the use of freedom of expression as a defense in defamation cases; however, there have been no such libel cases since 2002. While the law requires a formal licensing mechanism for mass media, there have been no reports of the government refusing such licenses for political reasons, and no government authorization at all is needed for the establishment of a print publication. There were also no reported cases of intimidation or violence against journalists in 2006.
Much of the media is state operated, although there are a growing number of private publications and broadcast outlets. There are three privately owned newspapers and one run by the state. While there are six independent radio stations that broadcast regularly in Cape Verde, the government owns a national radio station as well as the only national television station. The government does not generally restrict access to the media that it controls; nonetheless, a number of opposition political candidates reported having trouble accessing airtime on the state broadcasters for the February presidential election. Self-censorship is also widely practiced among journalists and has been one of the largest obstacles in Cape Verde to the creation of a truly free press. Geographic barriers and harsh terrain in a country made up of several islands also constitute impediments to the distribution of newspapers and other media products. Access to the internet is not restricted by the government, and e-mail messages and foreign broadcasts are uncensored.