Mozambique | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2009

2009 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

  • The 1990 constitution provides for press freedom but restricts this right to ensure respect for the constitution, human dignity, the imperatives of foreign policy, and national defense.
  • Defamation of the president is illegal, and libel laws are sometimes used to prosecute media outlets. In August, two editors and a reporter with the independent newspaper Zambeze were sentenced to six months in prison each—later converted to a small fine—for defaming the prime minster and “threatening state security” in an article questioning her nationality.
  • Journalists were harassed and intimidated throughout the year, primarily by political party supporters. In April, two supporters of the ruling party, FRELIMO, broke into a private radio station, threatened the staff, and briefly detained one reporter. In similar incidents in October, local leaders of the opposition party, RENAMO, threatened two journalists they accused of favoring political rivals.
  • The risk of lawsuits, prosecution, and extralegal intimidation encourages self-censorship among journalists.
  • In December, the convicted murderer of investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso escaped from prison, where he was serving a 30-year sentence. It was the third time he had escaped since his incarceration began, and in this case he received help from prison guards.
  • The state owns a majority stake in the leading national daily and the largest broadcast networks, although dozens of private radio and television stations also operate. Portuguese state television’s African service, RTP Africa, and the Brazilian-owned TV Miramar are also popular.
  • The financial viability of many outlets is affected by a law limiting foreign ownership of any media enterprise to a 20 percent stake.
  • According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the process for obtaining radio operating licenses is long and difficult, and new laws are needed to differentiate between commercial and public radio.
  • The government has traditionally dominated the daily newspaper market. However, in a bid to break into that market, the successful independent weekly O Pais started publishing on a daily basis in 2008.
  • Internet access is not restricted by the government, though less than 1 percent of the population has access because of a scarcity of electricity, computers, and telecommunications infrastructure. The leading telecommunications company, Cellular, said in 2008 that it would invest US$70 million in improving the reach of its mobile telephone and internet networks.