The Seychelles constitution guarantees press freedom while restricting it to protect the rights, reputation and privacy of individuals and as well as public security and defence, morality and public health. Things are quite different in practice. The country’s only opposition news media, the weekly newspaper Regar, was constantly harassed by the authorities. Several complaints were brought against it by officials in 2002. If they prosper, the newspaper will have no choice but to close because of its inability to pay the astronomical sums demanded in damages.
The state-owned daily Seychelles Nation just relayed official propaganda and, at great length, disparaged the opposition and all other voices raised in criticism of the president and his government. Nonetheless on 3 May, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the government’s public relations office noted that the free flow of news was the cornerstone of the nation’s development and that of its inhabitants.
The state also enjoyed a de facto broadcast monopoly, owning the only television channel and the only radio stations. The cost of a licence to operate a radio or TV station was so high that it would be practically impossible to establish any privately-owned broadcast media.