Freedom of the Press
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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)
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 the 1980s. A December 2005 libel ruling against De West, one of the country’s two national independent newspapers, continued to cause concern. George Findlay, publisher of De West, faces imprisonment on a charge of insulting members of the country’s Foreign Exchange Commission and heavy fines for not submitting a retraction of the original story for publication in the competing newspaper, De Ware Tijd. In May, a minister’s bodyguard harassed a journalist and confiscated his equipment for photographing the minister’s vehicle.
According to the Association of Surinamese Journalists, poor salaries and lack of training are leading to unprofessional conduct and undermining the profession. In August, the government announced that, after a three-year selection process, Caribbean telecommunications giants Digicel and Intelsur would be granted licenses to offer telecommunications services in Suriname. The actual liberalization will take place when the new Telecommunications Act goes into effect. De West and De Ware Tijd, both privately owned, are the country’s main newspapers. There are seven radio stations and a number of community radio stations. Both television stations—Algemene Televisie Verzorging and Surinaamse Televisie Stichting—and the national radio station are state owned. There are no government restrictions on the internet, though only 6 percent of the population accessed it in 2006.