Sector 1:
Freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, are effectively
protected and promoted.
1.1 Freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, is guaranteed in the
constitution and protected by other pieces of legislation
Under the constitution freedom of expression is implicitly guaranteed but not explicitly
stated. Section 79 captures the basic principles. However, limitations are introduced through
provisions for exceptions for example in the interests of “safety” which is not exactly
defined. Other exceptions that limit the freedom of expression include Acts like the official
secrets Act, The Penal Code, Books and Newspapers Act and the Defamation Act.
Sections of the constitution must thus be read together and not in isolation. There is therefore
the need for constitutional overhaul to remove the contradictions. Laws protecting the media
must be specific and clear for freedom of expression and media go together.
In given circumstances the insertion of exceptions to the guarantees of freedom of expression
may be considered legitimate. Here the spirit of the constitution anticipates interpretation.
However, some recent judicial rulings have come down heavily on mass media
establishments, and the effect is self- censorship.
Besides constitutional provisions, freedom of expression including freedom of the media is
inhibited by some institutional powers. For example the law courts and parliament using their
sitting powers can at their own discretion, occasionally exclude reporters from covering the
Under the present constitution, the enjoyment of the freedom of information is predicated on
the goodwill of existing regime. By the same token, a regime would use it to impart
propaganda at the expense of genuine free expression.
Legal reforms covering mass media must also go beyond the traditional media formats to
take cognizance of new ICTs incorporating electronic media, internet, e- mail and mobile
phone short- message- services.
Individual scores:

2, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

Average score:

2.2 (2005= 1.8)

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