Freedom of the Press
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São Tomé and Príncipe
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 1990 constitution provides for freedom of the press, and this right is respected in practice and upheld by the state. There were no reported cases of government restrictions on local or foreign media or reports of attacks against the media during 2007. Publications that regularly criticize the administration are circulated freely without government interference, and opposition parties receive free airtime. Nonetheless, self-censorship is widely practiced, and newspapers often depend on official news releases as primary sources of information, which inhibits the growth of investigative journalism. Some writers also accept financial favors from news sources for doing their jobs. Severe problems with infrastructure, including inadequate telecommunications and media distribution networks, constitute a major obstacle for the media. In 2007, there were seven privately owned and two state-run newspapers, all of which typically published infrequently, often because of financial constraints. There were also a number of state-operated radio and television stations. In 2005, the government authorized two new private radio stations to operate within the country, both of which began broadcasting in late 2006. Access to the internet is not restricted by the government but is limited by a lack of infrastructure. Nevertheless, approximately 11 percent of the population accessed this new medium during the year, giving the country one of the highest per capita penetration levels in sub-Saharan Africa.