Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

Freedom of the Press 2008 - Belize

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 29 April 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Belize, 29 April 2008, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 8 (of 30)
Political Environment: 9 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 5 (of 30)
Total Score: 22 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

The constitution of Belize protects the right to freedom of expression, although there are several legal limitations to that right. The government may fine up to US$2,500 and imprison for up to three years those who question the financial disclosures of public officials, though there were no reports of this law being exercised in 2007. Newspapers are subject to libel laws; furthermore, the Belize Broadcasting Authority (BBA) holds the right to preview broadcasts with political content and remove libelous material, but this right was not exercised during the year. Some isolated attacks against journalists were reported in 2007. Two homemade bombs were found in the car of Evan Hyde, host of the popular "Wake Up Belize" program on Krem Radio. Upon investigation, authorities indicated that an attempt was made to ignite one of the explosive devices. In October, Rufus X, co-host of the politically charged "Kremandala Show" on local Krem TV and Radio, was assaulted with a metal rod, breaking his arm in two places. The journalist claimed the attack was in response to his expression of political views on the airwaves

There are 8 television and 33 licensed radio stations, including 1 affiliated directly with the United Democratic Party. There are no daily newspapers in Belize, though there is a vibrant market for weeklies. Papers are privately owned, with two weeklies directly affiliated with political parties. In general, reporting covers a wide range of opinions. Belize has close to 40,000 registered internet users (approximately 12 percent of the population), and the internet is unrestricted by the government.

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