Suriname | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Suriname

Suriname

Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 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)

6

The coalition government generally respects freedom of expression and of the press, as provided for in the country’s constitution. However, government authorities used the threat of legal action against newspapers to intimidate and manipulate the press during the year; one case resulted in a court verdict ordering a newspaper to publish a public apology. There were no developments in the 2005 case in which De West publisher George Findley was ordered to publish a correction of a De West article on the Suriname Currency Board both in De West and in the competing paper De Ware Tijd, which refused to publish the retraction. In the only overt act of censorship during the year, the state-owned Suriname Television Foundation was forced to cancel its Suriname Today discussion program on May 10 after the country’s vice president, Ramdien Sardjoe, requested that the producers not air planned segments addressing China-Taiwan relations. Chinese diplomats in the capital, Paramaribo, had also pressed for the program to be dropped and apparently visited the station to speak to the management. Sardjoe said his request was in the national interests of the country, but the Association of Surinamese Journalists (SVJ) denounced this violation of free speech. Little investigative journalism takes place in Suriname, and some journalists continue to practice self-censorship on certain issues. According to the SVJ, poor salaries and lack of training lead to unprofessional conduct that undermines the profession. There are two privately owned Dutch-language daily newspapers, De Ware Tijd and De West. Seven radio stations, including the government-owned Stichting Radio Omroep Suriname, broadcast in the country, along with a number of community radio stations. Both television stations—Algemene Televisie Verzorging and Surinaamse Televisie Stichting—are state owned. There are no government restrictions on the internet, though only close to 7 percent of the population was able to access it in 2007.