Index 2024
100/ 180
Score : 54.07
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
101/ 180
Score : 56.66
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Despite a long media tradition going back more than 150 years, Madagascar’s media landscape is highly polarised and politicised, and heavily impacted by corruption.

Media landscape

Due to a high rate of illiteracy, radio is the main source of news. The state controls the public media, and state broadcasters RNM and TVM still tend to follow government communication directives. Privately owned radio stations can only broadcast by satellite. The mostly French-language written press remains limited to urban areas. Privately owned media outlets are politicised and divided between those who support the government and those who support the opposition. This severely limits access to neutral and independent information. 

Political context

The state controls the public media and has the power to appoint or dismiss key officials. The stranglehold of politicians on the media undermines pluralism and journalistic freedom. It is common for media outlets to be controlled directly or indirectly by government ministers, parliamentarians and businessmen with close ties to politicians. Due to the dichotomy between pro-government and pro-opposition media, neither is politically independent.

Legal framework

Few journalists have been jailed in connection with their work since the decriminalisation of press offences in 2016. But, under amendments to the Code of Media Communication in 2020, journalists can be fined for “spreading fake news”, “contempt”, and “defamation”. The communication code also allows the authorities to close media outlets or ban programmes deemed likely to disturb public order. A new National Authority for the Regulation of Media Communication (ANRCM) should grant media licences, but this provision has not yet taken effect. A proposed law on access to state-held information has been awaiting a vote for 16 years. A law on human rights defenders and whistleblowers that was proposed in 2021, has also still not been adopted.

Economic context

The precariousness of Madagascar’s media has had disastrous consequences on the quality of news reporting and the independence of the media. The level of media concentration creates dominant positions and both the current president and communication minister head a media group. The Covid-19 crisis exacerbated the scarcity of advertising revenue. Very low salaries leave journalists vulnerable to corruption, including the widespread practice of “felaka” (envelope containing a few banknotes given by the organisers of the event to journalists covering it). It is not uncommon for journalists to have several jobs and to find themselves in a conflict of interest as a result of working for politicians. Journalists tend to censor themselves mainly to comply with the editorial line imposed by the politician who owns the media outlet they work for, or to comply with a ban on criticising advertisers. 

Sociocultural context

Covering corruption, particularly in the natural resources and environmental sectors, continues to be very difficult for journalists. Religious communities usually have their own media.


Journalists are sometimes verbally abused by politicians or are victims of smear campaigns on social media. Physical attacks are relatively rare. But journalists were subjected to abusive treatment during the elections that brought Andry Rajoelina to the presidency in November 2023, and several were physically attacked during political demonstrations in the run-up to the elections.