Press Freedom in the African Great Lakes Region: A Comparative Study of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Anke Fiedler
  • Marie-Soleil Frère


Based on the example of three francophone African countries—Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—this chapter enquires about the relevant factors influencing journalistic freedom in (post-)conflict societies. Using 132 expert interviews conducted between July 2014 and January 2016, the study concludes that press freedom, although enshrined in media legislation and promoted through local professional and international media assistance organizations in the region (such as Search for Common Ground, Internews, or the Panos Institute), faces many constraints at every level in the three countries but also that spaces of freedom sometimes exist beyond expectations. Against the theoretical backdrop developed by Ibelema et al. (2000, 98–115), the results show that in times of crisis and conflict, in particular, politics is the dominant factor influencing press freedom, while in more stable periods, other factors, such as economic constraints, are equally important. Nevertheless, each factor includes a wide diversity of internal dynamics, to the extent that one can discern similarities and differences between countries but not numerically assess and rank their levels of press freedom.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anke Fiedler
    • 1
  • Marie-Soleil Frère
    • 1
  1. 1.Université libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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