Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2018, 12:53 GMT

Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2007 - Brunei

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 1 February 2007
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2007 - Brunei, 1 February 2007, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
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.

Area: 5,770 sq. km.
Population: 374,000.
Language: Malay.
Head of state: Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

The sultan, who has since 1967 held the posts of prime minister, defence minister, financial minister, rector of the university, chief of police and commander of the believers, has never favoured the emergence of a pluralist press.

Journalists on the rare privately-owned publications in the sultanate can be punished by prison sentences of up to three years for publishing "false news". Self-censorship is commonplace and freedom of expression limited. In June 2006, three men were sentenced to one year in prison for having sent "seditious" and "insulting" mobile phone messages to the family of the leader.

The sultanate's subjects have access to a television network via cable, including the BBC, which marks a contrast with the staid programmes on Brunei television, which is, of course, state-owned. The expansion of the Internet makes it impossible to censor articles "contrary to Islam or the honour of the royal family" as laid down by the authorities. Borneo Bulletin, which has a web version, carries a photo or an article about the sultan's activities on almost every one of its front pages.

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