Madagascar

Madagascar

Easily influenced media

The precarious state of Madagascar’s media renders journalists and the media very vulnerable to influence by businessmen and politicians, who own many media outlets. The presidential election in late 2018, won by former transition leader Andry Rajoelina, confirmed the extreme politicisation of the media, especially the print media. As almost all newspapers backed one or other of the leading candidates, access to objective and independent reporting was very limited. Media owners were then given government positions. Media access to certain official events has been limited to pro-government media and journalists. The polarisation of the media landscape has kept on growing, with rival media waging an all-out war that has resulted in journalists being summoned by the criminal police for disinformation and disturbing public order. This happened again in early 2021. The coronavirus crisis has led to increased restrictions on public debate, with a ban on phone-in radio programmes and with all privately-owned broadcast media being required to retransmit state media broadcasts about the pandemic. Warnings were issued to those that did not immediately comply. The Code of Communication, a media law adopted in 2016, makes it possible to try media offences under the criminal code, potentially criminalising journalism. It provides for heavy fines for offences ranging from insult and defamation to the publication of “false news” – a vague charge that denies journalists the right to make a mistake. Convictions are nonetheless rare. In 2019, a court finally acquitted Fernand Cello, a radio journalist based in the south of the country who was arrested in 2017 in connection with his investigative coverage of local corruption and abuse of authority and who was awarded RSF’s press freedom prize the same year. Covering corruption, especially in connection with natural resources and the environment, is still very dangerous.

57
in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

-3

54 in 2020

Global score

+0.56

27.68 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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