Progress that needs consolidating
Several cases of attacks against journalists, especially by police or members of political parties, were registered in 2020. The new president nonetheless sent positive signals by having the law on access to information finally take effect, 13 years after it first began being discussed, and by introducing the practice of holding regular press conferences. This was good news after the disputed 2019 presidential election, which had a negative impact on the media. Social media were disconnected, two commercial TV stations were vandalised and radio phone-in programmes were banned when the election results were announced. In 2018, the Daily Times media group had to apologise after the ruling party criticised a report that appeared to favour the main opposition political party, and the tax department closed the headquarters of another media group critical of the government a few months later. These press freedom violations had ended the progress seen in recent years, in which the number of abuses against reporters had fallen dramatically. Media legislation is still very repressive. A law provides for the imprisonment of those who “insult” the head of state. And a cyber-security law adopted in 2016 provides for the imprisonment of those who simply post “offensive” content. These laws can be used against both journalists and bloggers.
69 in 2020
29.32 in 2020