Cape Verde | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Cape Verde

Cape Verde

Freedom of the Press 2011

2011 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Cape Verde’s constitution directly provides for freedom of the press as well as confidentiality of sources, access to information, and freedom from arbitrary arrest. In recent years, the government has consistently demonstrated its ability to respect and protect these rights in practice, making Cape Verde among the freest media environments in Africa. A 1999 constitutional amendment still excludes the use of freedom of expression as a defense in defamation cases; however, there have been no such libel cases since 2002. The law requires broadcasters to obtain operating licenses, and government approval is needed to establish new newspapers and other publications. However, there were no reports that the government denied or revoked licenses for political reasons in 2010. The government does not generally restrict access to the media that it controls, although opposition candidates reported difficulty in accessing airtime on state broadcasters before the February 2006 presidential election. Self-censorship is widespread among journalists, however, and has been one of the largest obstacles to the creation of a truly free press. There were no reported cases of intimidation of, or violence against, journalists in 2010.

Many media outlets are state operated, although there are a growing number of private publications and broadcast outlets. Print media include a government publication appearing twice weekly and a handful of independent weeklies and monthlies; Portuguese and Brazilian newspapers are also readily available. In addition to the state-run radio and television stations, approximately a dozen independent and community-run FM radio stations broadcast regularly, and television viewers can access two pay-TV stations and a new free-to-air channel available in the capital on a test basis. Foreign broadcasts are uncensored. Geographic barriers and harsh terrain in a country made up of several islands also constitute impediments to the distribution of newspapers and other media products. This has contributed to a growth in importance of the community radio sector, which now includes five stations. Raising funds and the lack of specific regulations governing community radio have been identified as major problems for the sustainability of this sector, and community radio advocates have called for government help with operating costs and new legislation.

Internet usage has risen dramatically over the last few years, from 8 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2010. There were no reports that the government restricted internet access or monitored e-mail messages.