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)
Freedom of speech and of the press are protected under the preamble to the 2001 constitution. These rights are generally respected by the government, but journalists are subject to harassment and harsh defamation laws. In March, paramilitary police detained Aboubacar M’changama, editor of the private weekly L’Archipel, for printing two articles concerning discontent within the military. M’changama, who also heads the Comorian Print Media Organization, was held for 54 hours, exceeding the legal 48-hour maximum detention limit. Several radio stations were targeted prior to the May 2006 presidential elections. Radio Ngazidja, the official government station of Grand Comore, and private station Moroni FM were ransacked and temporarily forced off the air by armed assailants. Equipment was confiscated from Radio Moheli by the local military commander. Several journalists claimed that the Radio Moheli censorship was the result of having aired protests against the director of a state-owned agency.
Comoros has several independent newspapers and one state-owned weekly, Al-Watan. Of the two national radio stations, one (Radio Comoros) is run by the government, and the other (Radio Tropique) is run by the opposition. Private local radio and television stations have proliferated in the last few years and are funded predominantly by donations from locals as well as from citizens living abroad. Although available and unrestricted by the government, poverty, illiteracy, and poor telecommunications infrastructure severely limited access to the internet, which was used by only 3 percent of the population in 2006.