Telecommunications in Madagascar

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Telecommunications in Madagascar include newspapers, radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Widespread poverty and illiteracy severely limit the penetration of television, print media, and the Internet, making radio by far the most important communications medium in the country.[1]

Newspapers[edit]

Press freedom[edit]

While the constitution provides for freedom of the press, the ability of the press to criticize the regime is severely limited. In particular the absence of a communications code protecting press freedoms allows authorities to prosecute journalists under libel law and the criminal code whenever the content of their reporting offends the facto regime.[3]

In November 2012 the de facto minister of communications stated that assertions harming the "general interest" were banned from public media. Gendarmes interrogated the editor-in-chief of Le Courrier de Madagascar for several hours in April 2012 after he ran a story entitled, "Governance--the Brothel Takes Hold at High Levels." Investigative journalists are often targets of threats and harassment from authorities. In May 2012 police stopped a journalist from La Verite, a proregime newspaper, on his way to cover an event in Antananarivo. Police reportedly beat him and broke his arm. All journalists released on bail remained subject to rearrest at any time.[3]

Radio and television[edit]

  • Radio stations: State-owned Radio Nationale Malagasy (RNM) has an extensive national network reach; privately owned radio broadcasters in cities and major towns; state-run radio dominates in rural areas; relays of 2 international broadcasters are available in the capital, Antananarivo (2007).[4]
    • Malagasy National Radio (RNM), state-owned.[2]
    • Radio Don Bosco, Catholic.[2]
    • Radio Lazan' Iarivo (RLI) (Glory of Iarivo), private.[2]
    • Radio Antsiva, private.[2]
  • Radios: 3.05 million (1997).[dated info]
  • Television stations: Television Malagasy (TVM) has an extensive national network reach; privately owned TV broadcasters in cities and major towns; relays of 2 international broadcasters are available in Antananarivo (2007).[4]
    • Television Malagasy (TVM), state-owned.[2]
    • Radio-Television Analamanga (RTA), private.[2]
    • Madagascar TV (MATV), private.[2]
  • Television sets: 325,000 (1997).[dated info]

Former president, Marc Ravalomanana, and current leader Andry Rajoelina own broadcasting outlets.[2]

Media restrictions[edit]

Although the law provides for freedom of speech, authorities severely restrict freedom of speech by intimidating opponents and resorting to imprisonment or violence when threats fail to dissuade critics. The de facto minister of communications targeted those who expressed dissent, sending official warning letters to news outlets whose coverage displeased the regime. From 2010 through 2012 an estimated 80 radio and television station licenses withdrawn and the stations ordered suspend broadcasting immediately. By the end of 2012 they had not been authorized to reopen. In September 2012 the editor of the national television station was suspended, reportedly for having opposition politicians on the air. Authorities also suspend journalists who continue to broadcast despite government warnings. To maintain access to sources and remain safe, journalists widely practiced self-censorship.[3]

On 2 May 2012, authorities imprisoned the editors of the private radio station Free FM, Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy and Fidel Razara Pierre, for a two-day investigation following a libel suit brought by Mamy Ravatomanga, a well-known backer of the de facto regime. Following a series of public rallies that same month marking the first anniversary of Free FM and calling for greater press freedom, the radio’s editors were charged with provoking outrage against the regime, destruction of public goods, mounting opposition to security forces, and holding a public demonstration without authorization. On 22 July 2012, authorities closed the radio station, and the two journalists and another colleague went into hiding. By the end of 2012 Free FM remained closed.[3]

Telephones[edit]

Internet[edit]

Internet censorship and surveillance[edit]

There are generally no restrictions on access to the Internet, or reports that the de facto government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms. However, the de facto minister of communication made several statements throughout 2012 about restricting the Internet.[3]

Political groups, parties, and activists use the Internet extensively to advance their agendas, share news, and criticize other parties. Although there have been allegations of technical sabotage of some Web sites, the Internet is considered among the more reliable sources of information, as many Internet servers were outside the country and cannot be regulated by the regime.[3]

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, but the de facto regime and military actors actively and systematically impeded the exercise of freedoms of expression and of the press. The law prohibits arbitrary Interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, but homes and workplaces of opposition groups are subject to arbitrary searches without warrants. Regime security personnel also punished family members for alleged offenses committed by individuals.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Madagascar", Freedom of the Press, Freedom House, 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Madagascar profile", BBC News, 20 June 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Madagascar", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 22 March 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Madagascar", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 7 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  5. ^ Dialing Procedures (International Prefix, National (Trunk) Prefix and National (Significant) Number) (in Accordance with ITY-T Recommendation E.164 (11/2010)), Annex to ITU Operational Bulletin No. 994-15.XII.2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU, Geneva), 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  6. ^ TELMA (French), Safidiko Malagasy (Telcom Malagasy).
  7. ^ "Orange inaugurates the new submarine cable LION in Reunion and continues its strategy to develop broadband internet in the Indian Ocean" (Press release). Orange. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "About EASSY". 
  9. ^ a b Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012", Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  10. ^ "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  11. ^ "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  13. ^ Select Formats, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  14. ^ Population, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.

External links[edit]