Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 21
Political Influences: 25
Economic Pressures: 20
Total Score: 66

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 43
Religious Groups: Muslim (94 percent), Christian (6 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Somali (60 percent), Afar (35 percent), other (5 percent)
Capital: Djibouti

Despite constitutional protection, the government often restricts freedom of speech. Slander is prohibited, and other laws that prohibit the dissemination of "false information" and regulate the publication of newspapers have been used against the independent press. Although private publications are generally allowed to circulate freely and provide some criticism of official policies, journalists generally self-censor coverage of sensitive issues due to fear of prosecution. In 2003 opposition leader Daher Ahmed Farah, the director of the independent newspaper Le Renouveau, was arrested, detained, and released from custody on four separate occasions, eliciting condemnations from international press freedom and human rights organizations. Farah was arrested for "undermining army morale" and for libel charges stemming from a March 6 article accusing the army leadership of politically motivated dismissals, as well as an April 17 article questioning an army leader's neutrality and alleging misconduct. The state owns and closely controls all domestic broadcast media in addition to La Nation, the country's principal newspaper, and coverage favors the government. However, international radio is available, including coverage from the BBC, RFI, VOA, and Radio Sawa, the latter two beginning broadcasts this year. In general, journalists are poorly paid and lack adequate training.

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