Mauritius

Mauritius

Media independence undermined

Mauritius may be seen as one of the model African countries as regards respect for human rights and democracy, but the media are very polarised and marked by the influence of politicians and businessmen who finance and promote them.The national radio and TV broadcaster and pro-government media are often guilty of propagandising, while those sympathetic to the opposition are liable to be sidelined. When the archipelago was hit by a major oil spill in July 2020, the government systematically boycotted two of the leading media outlets, the L’Express newspaper and Top FM radio, and their reporters were barred from the prime minister’s press conferences about the spill. The media take advantage of the freedom available to them to be very outspoken but they sometimes stray into sensationalism and ethical breaches that undermine the quality of their reporting. At the same time, the media regulator’s lack of independence does not encourage the emergence of quality journalism. Its sanctions usually target pro-opposition media, as in December 2020, when a radio station was banned from broadcasting for 72 hours after a unionist referred to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “racist”. Economic pressure and the one-sided distribution of advertising revenue also contribute to self-censorship. Legislation does not protect journalists, who can be sentenced to imprisonment on a charge of offending public order, while amendments to the Information and Communication Technologies Act in 2018 provide for prison sentences for those who post content that could cause “inconvenience, distress or anxiety”. A columnist was questioned by the police under these provisions in 2020.


61
in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

-5

56 in 2020

Global score

+0.74

28 in 2020

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