/ 2 December 2023

Africa’s top 10 countries for press freedom

Gettyimages 1650878104 594x594
People read newspapers at a kiosk in Libreville on September 7, 2023. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Press freedom has emerged as a crucial barometer of Africa’s democratic progress. Across the continent, 10 nations are scripting a new narrative of empowerment and transparency, where a bold and free media is not just a dream but a burgeoning reality. This list was compiled with the assistance of the data-gathering platform Statista.

1. Namibia

Namibia’s position as a leader in African press freedom is no accident. The country’s media operates in a political and legislative environment that actively supports the free exercise of journalism. This commitment reflects the country’s understanding of the crucial role of the press in a thriving democracy, setting a high standard for press freedom on the continent.

2. South Africa

In South Africa, the media serves as a formidable force for accountability, showcasing a long-standing tradition of investigative journalism. Despite a few problems, including the safety of journalists, the media continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s democratic discourse, unafraid to challenge and expose even the most powerful figures.

3. Cape Verde

This island nation demonstrates a strong commitment to press freedom, which is enshrined in its Constitution. While the media landscape is somewhat dominated by state-owned entities, the overall environment is conducive to journalistic endeavour, balancing governmental influence with a commitment to free expression.

4. Seychelles

Over the past decade, Seychelles has made significant strides to enhance media pluralism and diversity. With around 10 media outlets, the archipelago demonstrates a commitment to broadening the scope of journalistic expression and addressing major societal issues.

5. Gambia

Gambia’s transformation in terms of press freedom is nothing short of extraordinary. After the end of a long-standing dictatorship, the nation has embraced media liberty, creating a safer and more vibrant environment for journalists. This change signals a new era in Gambian democracy and governance.

6. Côte d’Ivoire

In Côte d’Ivoire, the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression is a significant milestone. The media landscape navigates the complex interplay of political influence and journalistic integrity, striving to maintain a balance.

7. Burkina Faso 

Despite recent political and security problems, Burkina Faso’s commitment to press freedom remains a guiding principle. This is crucial in ensuring that the media continues to serve as a pillar of society and a watchdog for the public.

8. Niger

In Niger, the media operates within a challenging regional context, marked by security concerns and counter-terrorism efforts. Despite these hurdles, there is a noticeable commitment to upholding press freedom.

9. Ghana 

Ghana’s vibrant media scene is a testament to its robust democratic principles. The proliferation of media outlets underscores the constitutional protections afforded to the press, allowing for a diverse and dynamic media landscape.

10. Mauritius

Mauritius, with its democratic ideals, faces the challenge of media polarisation and online attacks on journalists. This underscores the evolution of press freedom in the digital era.

Useful link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221101/press-freedom-index-in-africa-by-country/