Journalists pressured to censor themselves
The country seems pluralistic but this is just a facade. There is a score of privately-owned TV stations, a similar number of newspapers and around 40 radio stations, but all are under strong pressure to censor themselves and many are owned by government allies. Since 2014, several journalists have been threatened, forced to flee the country or summarily deported for criticizing the government or inviting opposition politicians to express their views. During the 2016 presidential election, the Internet was disconnected to prevent journalists and activists from verifying and challenging the results.
After being held for 18 months, newspaper editor Ghys Fortuné Bemba was finally freed in 2018. In 2018, the media regulator helped to obtain the release of several journalists arrested the year before but its president accused the country’s journalists of “tending to destabilize the state.” It is not unusual for arbitrary sanctions to be imposed on the media, especially when they criticize the government or its allies. This was seen yet again in 2019 when a weekly was ordered to reveal its sources and to cease its investigative reporting on the national civil aviation agency. The lack of state support increases the precarity of the media and several media outlets have had to close in recent years, including two TV channels in 2019.
117 in 2019
36.04 in 2019