Freedom of the press in Maghreb

How is the freedom of the press? Can everything be said and everywhere? The answer is no, because of many kidnappings, sentences and murders concerning journalists… The case Maghreb countries illustrates disparities of the freedom of the press.

Censorship, political propaganda, insecurity, financial pressures, intimidations… Everything is used to keep the press quiet. Nowadays, its liberty is not respected everywhere and is unequally acquired in the Maghreb countries.

This article deals with the freedom of the press in the countries of the “Great Maghreb”, that are Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It is produced from annual reports of Reporters sans frontières (RSF) – presenting the ranking for the best countries of the world in terms of freedom of the press. It makes out an assessment – about its development during ten years.

This ranking is the result of an evaluation which is based on the level of exactions, pluralism, the independence of the media, self-censorship, laws, transparency and infrastructures.

Development for 10 years on a diagram

Diagram- Freedom of the press- Julia Buquet
Diagram- Freedom of the press- Julia Buquet

Total: 180 countries

Explanations of this diagram:

With this first diagram, we can see the development of each Maghreb country in the global order concerning the freedom of the press.

Diagram- Julia Buquet
Diagram- Julia Buquet

Explanations of this diagram:

With this diagram we can understand the great differences between countries. Mauritania stays the best concerning the freedom of the press, contrary to Libya and Algeria, which are fighting the last rank for the region.

These results must be tied with the news of the countries. Wars, toughening, economic crisis, political censorship… are a few explanatory factors for decreases. Development of social freedom, democratization, better conditions of life, political stabilization… explain the increase of freedom of the press.

The current situation

In the Maghreb countries, the predominant assessment is a difficult situation for journalists. Many exactions, sentences and aggressions are noted in the last years.

All of these countries stay – in spite of visible efforts concerning social freedom and increase in the freedom of expression – among the worst pupils in terms of the freedom of the press in the global assessment.

Julia Buquet

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