Press freedom reports

Mauritania may take pride in Reporters Without Borders classification of the press situation in Mauritania as a “satisfactory situation,” one of the very few members of the Arab League to be granted this qualification. In Reporters Without Borders 2006 Pres Freedom Index Mauritania is praised for “gaining much ground.” The country has risen to 77th position after being 138th in 2004, one of the biggest improvements in the Index. In 2005 Reporters Without Borders already hailed the military coup as a blessing in disguise: “The banal sounding “1991 law on press freedom” had for nearly 15 years allowed President Maaouiya Ould Taya and his government to order more than 100 seizures of independent Mauritanian newspapers. Arrests of journalists, articles cut out, publications banned, an omnipresent political police, taboo subjects, manipulation of public media, state lies, police brutality were the daily lot of a press proud of its independence, and sometimes its insolence towards an ever more despotic government. Mauritania had become a closed, sealed and tyrannical country towards its journalists and human rights activists.” Freedom House is equally positive about developments in Mauritania: “Mauritania's rating improved from Not Free to Partly Free to reflect a relaxation of draconian press laws as well as an opening of the state and private media under the transition government.”