Benin profile

Newspaper vendor Benin has a vibrant media landscape

The International Press Institute (IPI) says Benin has one of the region's "most vibrant media landscapes".

According to US-based NGO Freedom House, "a pluralistic and frequently-politicised press publishes articles that are highly critical of government and opposition party leaders."

Harsh libel laws have been used against journalists, but the constitution guarantees media freedom. The authorities have suspended newspapers over material deemed to be offensive.

Benin has dozens of newspapers and periodicals, a state TV channel, a handful of commercial TV channels and scores of state, commercial and local radio stations.

Radio is the main source of information, particularly in rural areas. The medium is popular because of its use of local languages. Phone-in programmes are particularly popular.

Poverty, poor infrastructure and a small advertising market translate to patchy newsgathering and inadequate newspaper distribution, especially in the countryside.

The BBC World Service (101.7), Radio France Internationale and Gabon's Africa No1 are available on FM in Cotonou.

Benin was one of the first west African countries to gain an internet connection. There were 277,000 internet users by the end of 2011 (Internetworldstats.com).

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