Alarming setbacks for press freedom
Although the 2001 constitution, which was amended in 2018, guarantees media freedom, most of the archipelago’s journalists censor themselves because of the heavy penalties for defamation. Journalists suffer above all from a lack of resources and training. The political tension that accompanied the 2018 constitutional referendum and President Azali Assoumani’s reelection in 2019 resulted in an unusual and dramatic surge in press freedom violations, including intimidation of journalists, attacks, arrests, threats and censorship, forcing some Comorian journalists to flee abroad for safety reasons. Foreign journalists also left after being arrested. Several journalists were arbitrarily detained in 2020, prompting the National Union of Comorian Journalists to protest that “being held overnight” was becoming routine for media personnel. The arbitrary suspension of two journalists with the state TV broadcaster cast a cloud over the openness recently seen in the state media. Journalists are often subjected to very strong and direct pressure from on high, as when the government threatened a reporter for an independent newspaper with prosecution after he exposed mismanagement in its handling of the coronavirus crisis.
75 in 2020
29.77 in 2020