The Republic of Madagascar and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar, which is the fourth-largest island in the world, as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands.
While the constitution provides for freedom of the press, this guarantee is stifled by criminal defamation laws and other restrictions, that often put at risk the safety of journalists who are involved in the investigation of sensitive subjects such as cattle rustling and the illicit extraction and sale of natural resources. Madagascar ranked at 54 out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index by RSF. Madagascar’s rating has improved 10 ranks more free from previously being 64 in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index. While the Malagasy people have many freedoms, the Madagascan government maintains a tight grip on its media outlets. The government controls the issuance of broadcast licenses and can confiscate equipment or shut down stations if they violate sections of the Communications Code. Journalists face threats, physical assault, arrests and detention as well as media shutdown.