Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 18 (of 30)
Political Environment: 22 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 21 (of 30)
Total Score: 61 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.

  • Despite constitutional guarantees, freedom of the press is restricted in Angola.

  • Libel of the president or his representatives remains a criminal offense, punishable by high fines and imprisonment. The Law on State Secrecy permits the government to classify information, at times unnecessarily, and prosecute those who publish it.

  • Private media are often denied access to official information and events. Foreign journalists are able to operate with fewer government restrictions than their local counterparts.

  • There are some instances of official censorship. For example, authorities cancelled live radio call-in shows in the weeks leading up to the September 2008 legislative elections, and the state-run Angola Public Television (TPA) suspended a leading anchorman without pay for four months after he publicly denounced censorship at the station. Three journalists for the state broadcaster Angola National Radio were suspended indefinitely in October after questioning President Jose dos Santos' ministerial choices.

  • While less common than in previous years, arbitrary detention, harassment, and attacks on journalists continue to take place. Out of fear of reprisals, many journalists practice self-censorship, particularly outside of Luanda, the capital.

  • The government continues to dominate both print and broadcast media. However, in 2008, the implementation of a 2006 press law ended the state monopoly on television. TV Zimbo, the country's first private television station, began a three-month trial period in December 2008 and aimed to become fully operational in 2009.

  • In an improvement over previous years, the state broadcaster allowed coverage, albeit heavily biased, of all parties during the campaign for the legislative elections.

  • Internet access is generally unrestricted and is available in several provincial capitals, though less than 4 percent of the population was able to make use of this medium owing to cost constraints.

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