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FREE EXPRESSION IN MAURITANIA LIMITED BY HIGH PRICES AND POORLY TRAINED JOURNALISTS, ARTICLE 19 FINDS

Free expression in Mauritania suffers from high newspaper prices, poor distribution, and insufficient training of journalists and lawyers on media rights, an ARTICLE 19 report has found.

Although significant concessions have been won since the overthrow of President Ould Taya's regime in August 2005 - like the adoption of a new law abolishing censorship and providing for the decriminalisation of press offences - serious challenges remain, says ARTICLE 19. Newspaper prices remain high, and circulation is "insignificant" at only 1,500 to 2,000 copies. Mauritania is also the only country in West Africa without private radio or television. The situation is made worse by a lack of professionalism in the industry and limited access to information.

Over the past year, ARTICLE 19 has organised two workshops with the Mauritanian Human Rights Association (AMDH) to investigate the state of free expression in the country. Together, the groups have produced a three-pronged action plan, which includes advocating for favourable press freedom laws, participating in sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and developing training sessions for journalists and lawyers.

To read "Mauritanie Rapport Sur La Liberté d'Expression" (French only) and the detailed action plan in French, see: http://tinyurl.com/yopt6l

To read the action plan in English, see: http://tinyurl.com/2h78sc

(3 July 2007)

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