Guinea-Bissau | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2010

2010 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

  • While freedoms of expression and the press are guaranteed in Guinea-Bissau’s 1993 constitution and by 2005 legislation, the authorities continue to suppress these rights in practice. Political upheaval and an escalation in violence in 2009 exacerbated an already poor media situation.
  • The authorities have threatened to shut down the main opposition radio station, Radio Bombolom, several times in recent years. In 2007 and 2008, Albert Dabo, a Bombolom journalist who also works for Reuters, was threatened by military officials and temporarily forced into hiding for reporting on potential connections between the armed forces and drug traffickers.
  • Following the murder of General Batista Tagme Na Wai on March 1, 2009, and the assassination of President Joao Bernardo Vieira on March 2, three private radio stations were shut down by the military, though they were reopened the following day.
  • Intimidation, harassment, and violence aimed at journalists continued in 2009. For example, in October, the director of the Donos da Bola newspaper, Mario de Oliveira, was arrested over an interview of the interior minister. De Oliveira was verbally and physically abused while in custody, but he was released after several hours following the intervention of a local human rights group.
  • The military has threatened and assaulted journalists and human rights defenders who speak out against press freedom abuses. Impunity for public officials and members of the armed forces who harass members of the press continues unabated.
  • Self-censorship by journalists, particularly concerning the issue of drug trafficking, has increased in recent years. A number of journalists have gone into hiding or fled the country to avoid reprisals for their reporting.
  • A government-owned newspaper operates alongside several privately owned print outlets. Three private radio stations compete with the state-run radio broadcaster and the Portuguese-owned public broadcaster.
  • Operating in one of the world’s poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau’s press is plagued by financial instability. With only one state-owned printing press, publications struggle with high costs, slow production, and limited supplies. Broadcast outlets face unreliable electricity.
  • Access to the internet as an alternative vehicle for news and information is limited to 2.3 percent of the population. No governmental restrictions on access are apparent.