Freedom of the Press 2008 - Seychelles
|Publication Date||29 April 2008|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Seychelles, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f62e28.html [accessed 18 December 2013]|
Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 20 (of 30)
Political Environment: 20 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 19 (of 30)
Total Score: 59 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
The constitution provides for freedom of speech but also restricts this right by protecting the reputation, rights, and privacy of citizens as well as the "interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health." These restrictions have limited freedom of the press, particularly because libel charges can easily be filed to penalize journalists. The law also allows the minister of information to prohibit the broadcast of any material that is against the "national interest." While the judiciary is often perceived as favorable to plaintiffs in libel cases, in August 2007, the court of appeals overturned a supreme court libel conviction against Regar, one of the country's two independent weekly newspapers. Regar had closed in October 2006 in protest at an exorbitant $58,500 fine it had received. The paper restarted operation once the fine was reversed. Attacks against and harassment of media workers are known to occur at times in Seychelles and in August 2007, a State House security officer physically assaulted the editor of Le Nouveau Seychelles Weekly.
The only daily newspaper, Nation, is state owned. All other papers publish more sporadically. The state has a de facto monopoly over the widely consumed broadcast media, and private broadcasters have been slow to develop because of restrictive licensing fees of more than $185,000 per year. Telecommunications companies must submit subscriber information to the government. While the internet was available and unrestricted in Seychelles, there were reports in 2007 of the government monitoring email, chat rooms, and blogs for the 25 percent of the population with access.