Index 2024
71/ 180
Score : 61.47
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
75/ 180
Score : 62.25
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

In this Indian Ocean archipelago with a population of less than 1 million, journalists are still often subjected to intimidation and arrest, especially during elections.

Media landscape

La Gazette des Comores, a privately owned daily, and the state-owned Al Watwan newspaper are very popular in the archipelago. But a great deal of news and information circulates online, especially on social media, where there is greater freedom of expression, which can lead to the publication of content that falls short of meeting journalistic standards. The Office de Radio et Télé des Comores TV (ORTC-TV),  the only public, free and national TV channel, is regarded as pro-government but has a large audience. 

Political context

Accustomed to controlling state media, successive governments have yet to come to terms with freedom of expression in the privately owned media, making censorship and arrests of journalists and bloggers still common. When the finance minister took office in 2021, he threatened to use “henchmen” to “tear apart” journalists who criticised him. A few months earlier, the presidential communications coordinator, a renowned former journalist, recognised the existence of a “political culture that will have to radically change”.

Legal framework

Although the 2001 Constitution, revised in 2018, guarantees press freedom, self-censorship is widespread among Comorian journalists, because of the heavy penalties for defamation. A new information law was adopted in 2021 and a journalistic ethics commission was created. Despite these provisions, journalists are often pressured to reveal their sources while in police custody.

Economic context

The media are struggling to be profitable, which undermines their independence. State subsidies go primarily to state-owned media that support the government. But privately owned media outlets often have difficulty paying their journalists, which encourages the publication of partisan and remunerative information, such as advertorials.

Sociocultural context

In this Muslim country, conservative religious influence, particularly on subjects relating to sex and prostitution,  is somewhat receding, and these topics are increasingly mentioned in the press, with the public’s support. 


Journalists are subjected to intimidation, attacks, arrests, threats and censorship. Between 2 and 6 February 2023, four journalists were questioned by the national gendarmerie’s investigation squad after being accused of “defamation and insult” in complaints filed by the ORTC and one of its executives. A union official had mentioned cases of sexual violence that an ORTC executive allegedly perpetrated against female journalists during the presentation of the Comorian president’s greetings to the press in January. During their defamation trial in August, they received a nine-month suspended sentence and a fine of 300 euros. Faced with an increase in the summons of journalists and bloggers in recent years, the National Union of Journalists in the Comoros has denounced the systematisation of “the night at the brigade”.