Freedom of the Press - Central African Republic (2003)

Status: n/a
Legal Environment: 20
Political Influences: 28
Economic Pressures: 19
Total Score: 67

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 44
Religious Groups: Indigenous beliefs (35 percent), Protestant (25 percent), Roman Catholic (25 percent), Muslim (15 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Baya (33 percent), Banda (27 percent), Mandjia (13 percent), Sara (10 percent), Mboum (7 percent), other (10 percent)
Capital: Bangui

Continuing political unrest during the year negatively affected access to information as well as journalists' ability to report the news freely. Legislation enacted in 1998 rescinded the government's authority to censor the press, but authorities have occasionally used criminal libel laws to prosecute journalists. Several independent newspapers publish sporadically and are critical of government policies and official corruption. However, broadcast media are dominated by the state and offer little coverage of opposition activities. Journalists remain subject to threats, violence, arbitrary arrest, and torture at the hands of the authorities. Reporters Sans Frontieres noted that after the attempted coup in October, the frequencies of two international radio stations were jammed, a French journalist was expelled from the country, and security forces threatened local journalists. In addition, a publisher was taken hostage by rebels for several weeks.

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