Freedom of the Press - Seychelles (2007)
|Publication Date||2 May 2007|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - Seychelles (2007), 2 May 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/478cd54528.html [accessed 20 June 2013]|
Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 20 (of 30)
Political Environment: 21 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 19 (of 30)
Total Score: 60 (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." The Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, the state-controlled media regulation body, continued to ban a local singer's music on the grounds that it was seditious.
In the past, the Regar, one of the county's two independent weekly newspapers, has been sued regularly for libel by the government. In October 2006, the Regar stopped publication to protest a lawsuit in which the paper was ordered to pay excessive damages (US$58,500) to Seychelles Tourism Board President Maurice Lousteau-Lalanne for publishing a photograph of him that had already appeared in the pro-government paper the Nation – the country's only daily newspaper. Also in October, violent protests erupted after the Parliament rejected a motion to amend the law banning political parties from setting up their own radio stations. Several people were injured during the protests, and Regar editor Roger Mancienne was arrested and then released on bail after being charged with "unlawful assembly."
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 US$185,000 per year. Telecommunications companies must submit subscriber information to the government. The internet was available and unrestricted in Seychelles for the nearly 25 percent of the population that accessed it in 2006.