Africa
Equatorial Guinea
-
Index 2022
141/180
Score : 43.96
Political indicator
138
42.73
Economic indicator
165
24.49
Legislative indicator
147
44.30
Social indicator
158
44.25
Security indicator
95
64.04
Index 2021
164/180
Score : 44.33
N/A
Indicators not available because the calculation method was changed in 2022

In Equatorial Guinea, a country ruled by the same man for more than four decades, the media are muzzled and prior censorship is the norm.

Media landscape

There is no real media pluralism in Equatorial Guinea. The population’s main source of news is the government-controlled radio and TV broadcaster RTVGE. The country's only "privately owned" TV channel, Asonga, belongs to the president’s son, Teodorín Obiang, the current vice-president. Despite the differences in status, both of these broadcasters play identical roles as mouthpieces of the government’s propaganda. But recent years have seen an encouraging development – the emergence of online media outlets providing news coverage that partly escapes the government’s control.

Political context

The media are closely controlled by the government. There are no independent media outlets and the authorities can fire reporters who do not comply with the government’s censorship. In 2020, coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic was not immune to the usual strict censorship, and several journalists were suspended after a report about military violence during the lockdown. Foreign journalists are often denied entry into the country. There is no media regulator.

Legal framework

Equatorial Guinea’s media legislation is one of the toughest in Africa. Press offences are not decriminalised and lawsuits for slander or defamation are common, leading to permanent self-censorship. The Constitution guarantees access to state-held information but exercising this right is hampered by many legal provisions.

Economic context

The economic situation prevents media outlets from trying to operate independently. State subsidies are meagre and are not provided to all media outlets. Under such circumstances, it is almost impossible to create a media outlet based on quality reporting. Journalists’ low wages make them susceptible to corruption.

Safety

Journalists are threatened, intimidated and subjected to arbitrary detention. Their phones are often tapped, they need special permission to visit certain areas, and sanctions are used to keep them in line. Four journalists were suspended from RTVGE in 2021 for criticising the technical committee set up to monitor and combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The few journalists who try to produce independent reporting are treated as “enemies of the regime” and are subjected to constant threats. Acts of violence against journalists go completely unpunished.