Compared with 2010, only 11 countries studied by the MSI showed significant improvement (improvement of .1 or more). Taken as a whole, Africa's overall average remained static. However, a noticeable jump took place in the Plurality of News objective, with the continental average standing at 2.05, up from 1.99. Offsetting this gain, however, was a drop of .11 in the Business Management continental objective.
Four (8 percent) of the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa were rated Free, 23 (47 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 22 (45 percent) were rated Not Free. In terms of population, 3 percent lived in Free media environments, while a majority (56 percent) lived with Partly Free media and 41 percent lived in Not Free settings. The regional average score underwent a modest decline, caused predominantly by a deterioration in the political category. Press freedom conditions remained dire in Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea, two of the world’s eight worst performers. Their authoritarian governments continued to use legal pressure, imprisonment, and other forms of harassment to suppress independent reporting.
Reporters Without Borders
With many African countries marking the 50th anniversary of their independence, 2010 should have been a year of celebration but the continent’s journalists were not invited to the party. The Horn of Africa continues to be the region with the least press freedom but there were disturbing reverses in the Great Lakes region and East Africa.
The relative positions of the African countries in the top 50 have also changed. They are now led by Namibia (21st), which has recovered its former pre-eminent position, while Cape Verde (26th) has caught up with Ghana (26th) and Mali (26th). South Africa (38th) has fallen five places, in part because of attacks on journalists during the Football World Cup but above all because of the behaviour of senior members of the ruling African National Congress towards the press. ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, for example, expelled BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher from a news conference on 8 April, calling him a “bastard” and “bloody agent.” And the government plans to create a media tribunal and to pass a bill restricting the disclosure of information. Both projects would endanger press freedom.
Angola | Benin | Botswana | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cameroon | Cape Verde | Central African Republic | Chad | Comoros | Democratic Republic of Congo | Congo, Republic of | Cote d'Ivoire | Djibouti | Equatorial Guinea | Eritrea | Ethiopia | Gabon | The Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Kenya | Lesotho | Liberia | Madagascar | Malawi | Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Mozambique | Namibia | Niger | Nigeria | Rwanda | Sao Tome and Principe | Senegal | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Somalia | Somaliland | South Africa | Sudan | Swaziland | Tanzania | Togo | Uganda | Zambia | Zimbabwe