Africa
Madagascar
-
Index 2022
98/180
Score : 58.02
Political indicator
101
52.58
Economic indicator
126
35.08
Legislative indicator
93
64.47
Social indicator
105
64.50
Security indicator
69
73.47
Index 2021
57/180
Score : 71.76
N/A
Indicators not available because the calculation method was changed in 2022

Madagascar is characterised by a very rich media landscape that is highly polarised and lacking in independence. Attacks and arrests targeting journalists are quite rare.

Media landscape

The state broadcasters (RNM and TVM) still tend to follow government communication directives. In 2021, TVM produced and broadcast a report based on false allegations in order to discredit a journalist’s revelations about the consequences of a climate-induced famine. The many privately owned media outlets (in both broadcasting and print) are extremely politicised and polarised between those that support the government and those that support the opposition. This severely limits the availability of objective and independent reporting.

Political context

The 2018 presidential election – won by former transition leader Andry Rajoelina – confirmed the marked politicisation of Madagascar’s media, especially the print media, with almost all media outlets siding with one or other of the main candidates. It is common for media outlets to be controlled directly or indirectly by government ministers, parliamentarians or businessmen with close links to politicians. The all-out war waged between media outlets that are political rivals sometimes prompts criminal investigations for disinformation or civil disturbance.

Legal framework

Journalists are rarely jailed because of their work. But a communication law passed in 2016 only partially abolished prison sentences for the most common media offences such as contempt, defamation and “false news.” Succeeding governments have often been tempted to take advantage of the fairly wide range of possibilities to shut down media or ban programmes – as in 2021, when the authorities wanted to ban nine radio and TV programmes for possible civil disturbance before deciding against it. 

Economic context

The precariousness of Madagascar’s media has had a disastrous impact on their independence and the quality of their reporting. Very low salaries leave journalists vulnerable to corruption, including the widespread practice of “felaka” (in which journalists arriving to cover an event receive an envelope containing a few banknotes from the organisers). It is not uncommon for journalists to take on odd jobs and to find themselves in a conflict of interest as a result of working for politicians.

Sociocultural context

Covering corruption, particularly in the natural resources and environmental sectors, continues to be very difficult for journalists. Religious communities usually have their own media.

Safety

Journalists are sometimes subjected to verbal attacks by politicians or smear campaigns on social media but physical attacks are very rare.