Attacks on press freedom are quite rare in Seychelles, first African country in the RSF World Press Freedom Index in 2022. The environment tends to favour the practice of journalism.
Media pluralism, diversity of opinion and the capacity to tackle major issues have been developing in Seychelles for the past ten years or so. Approximately ten media outlets operate in the archipelago. The public broadcast group SBC is the most popular and includes two television networks and two radio stations, as well as access to a great deal of international content. TéléSesel, launched in 2017, is the country’s sole private network. Two private radio stations also operate – Pure 907 and K-Radio. There are several print media outlets, including the state-owned Nation and the privately owned Today in Seychelles.
Since the introduction of the multiparty system in 1993, the practice of self-censorship, which was prevalent during decades of communist rule, has slowly dissipated. State-owned media outlets no longer shy away from criticising the government or from reporting on corruption and nepotism. Neverthless, several publications continue to be aligned with political parties.
The Constitution guarantees press freedom. Defamation was decriminalised in 2021 – a major advance that followed the adoption, three years earlier, of a law on access to public information. The confidentiality of sources is protected, and each outlet has its own ethical code. Since 2014, the Association of Seychelles Media Professionals has been responsible for defending journalists and press freedom.
A major reduction in the cost of launching a broadcast media outlet (the price of a radio licence has been divided by eight since 2012) has allowed the entry of new private actors and has broken the state’s broadcast monopoly. The print sector, which is unprofitable, is hit by high printing and circulation costs in an archipelago of 115 islands. Hence, some publications have been abandoning paper editions in favour of digital publications. The state-owned Nation is the last daily newspaper with a printed edition.
Seychelles is one of the very rare African countries in which most journalists are women.
Attacks on journalists are quite rare. These mostly take place on social networks, with political party militants generally responsible. Sanctions against media are also infrequent, but can be extremely heavy. In 2020, a newspaper’s conviction for defamation carried a fine of more than 23,000 euros for an article published in 2016.