Attacks on press freedom are quite rare in Seychelles. The environment tends to favour the practice of journalism.
Media pluralism, diversity of opinion and the capacity to tackle major issues have been developing in Seychelles for the past ten years or so. Approximately ten media outlets operate in the archipelago. The public broadcast group SBC is the most popular and includes two TV channels and two radio stations, as well as access to a great deal of international content. TéléSesel, launched in 2017, is the country’s sole privately owned TV channel. There are also two privately owned radio stations – Pure 907 and K-Radio. There are several print media outlets, including the state-owned Nation and the privately owned Today in Seychelles.
Since the introduction of a multiparty system in 1993, the practice of self-censorship, which was prevalent during decades of communist rule, has slowly dissipated. State-owned media outlets no longer shy away from criticising the government or from reporting on corruption and nepotism. Nevertheless, several publications continue to be aligned with political parties.
The constitution guarantees press freedom. Defamation was decriminalised in 2021 – a major advance that followed the adoption, three years earlier, of a law on access to state-held information. The confidentiality of sources is protected, and each outlet has its own ethical code. Since 2014, the Association of Seychelles Media Professionals has been responsible for defending journalists and press freedom.
A major reduction in the cost of launching a broadcast media outlet (the price of a radio licence has been reduced eight-fold since 2012) has allowed the entry of new private-sector actors and has ended the state’s monopoly of radio and television. The print sector, which is unprofitable, suffers from high printing and circulation costs in an archipelago of 115 islands. Some publications have therefore abandoned print editions in favour of publishing online. The state-owned Nation is the last daily newspaper with a print edition.
Seychelles is one of the very few African countries in which most journalists are women.
Attacks on journalists are quite rare. These mostly take place on social media, with political party activists generally responsible. Sanctions against media are also infrequent, but can be extremely heavy. In 2020, a newspaper was fined more than 23,000 euros for an allegedly defamatory article published in 2016. Two journalists were banned from covering the president’s press conference at the end of 2022, for no official reason.