Mozambique | 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)

  • The 1990 constitution provides for press freedom but allows restrictions to ensure respect for human dignity, for the imperatives of foreign policy and national security, and for the charter itself.
  • Though the 1991 press law defends a journalist’s right to conceal sources, harassment aimed at identifying sources takes place on a regular basis. In August 2009, police insisted that a journalist reveal his sources for an article written in April concerning military officers in the Cabo Delgado region.
  • Defamation of the president is illegal, and libel laws are sometimes used to prosecute media outlets.
  • According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), radio broadcast outlets were subjected to overly bureaucratic and possibly politicized procedures to obtain operating licenses. MISA advocated a new law that would clearly delineate the difference between commercial and public radio.
  • Reporters occasionally receive threats from authorities and other public figures. In March 2009, provincial governor Ildefonso Muanantatha made threatening public statements against journalist Bernardo Carlos, who had been critical of the government.
  • There were occasional reports that police, local officials, and political party activists harassed journalists, and reporters admitted that self-censorship was common. In September 2009, Alfane Momade Antonio of Nacala Community Radio was attacked by members of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) opposition party while traveling to meet with and interview the head of the RENAMO campaign in Nacala. Antonio had previously reportedly been critical of RENAMO.
  • In a positive step, in August authorities in South Africa arrested Anibal dos Santos Jr. after his third escape from a Mozambican prison, where he was serving a 30-year sentence for the 2000 murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso.
  • The government retained a majority stake in Noticias, the main national daily. That paper, in addition to the daily Diario de Mocambique and the weekly Domingo, largely reflected the views of the government and provided marginal, often critical coverage of RENAMO, though they demonstrated a willingness to examine government actions. Several smaller private papers provided more critical coverage of the government.
  • There are dozens of private community and regional radio stations, though the most influential radio station, Radio Mocambique, relies on state funding and tends to be less critical of the government. The state also supplies a majority of the operating budget for Televisao de Mocambique (TVM), which has the largest viewership. TVM’s news coverage was moderately balanced in 2009, but it retained a bias in favor of the government and the ruling party.
  • Printing supplies must be imported from South Africa, and the government did not exempt these supplies from import duties. Some newspapers found it less expensive to print in South Africa and import the final product. Other journals only published electronic versions, severely limiting their readership. Periodicals printed on paper had restricted readership beyond Maputo due to high transportation costs.
  • Public access to the internet continued to expand, particularly in the larger cities, though a lack of infrastructure in rural areas and installation costs limited overall use. Internet penetration in 2009 was about 2.7 percent. Individuals and groups could engage in the peaceful expression of views via the internet, although opposition party members alleged that government intelligence agents monitored e-mail.