Index 2024
33/ 180
Score : 74.2
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
86/ 180
Score : 59.45
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Since the decriminalisation of press offences in 2011, journalists have worked in a less oppressive – but financially precarious – environment.

Media landscape

Radio is the most popular medium in Mauritania and is dominated by the national radio broadcaster, Radio Mauritanie, which has local branches, as does the national TV broadcaster, TVM. These two public media outlets are controlled by the state, as is the national news agency, the Agence Mauritanienne d’information. Private-sector broadcasting has declined in recent years. Print media, many privately owned, French-language newspapers, are gradually disappearing due to a lack of resources. However, some privately owned media outlets, mainly news sites, have been able to consolidate their positions over the past 15 years, including,, and El Mourabiton TV, a television channel that broadcasts in five languages. Several news sites have also emerged and have a strong presence on social media,  including, Bellewarmedia, and La Vision.

Political context

As they are poorly paid, journalists are especially vulnerable to political pressure. But some news media outlets, such as Al Akhbar, manage to maintain a degree of independence. The High Authority for Press and Broadcasting, whose president is appointed by presidential decree, underwent a reform in 2022 that extended its authority to the digital sector. Its members are also now required to have a media degree and to include opposition representation.

Legal framework

In Mauritania, press offences were decriminalised in 2011. A law passed in 2006 and amended in 2011 strengthened press freedom and incorporated general principles on information access and source protection. When Mohamed Ould Ghazouani took over as president in 2019, he promised to reform and professionalise the media. In 2020, a commission was appointed to prepare a proposal on media reform and draft a law on the status of professional journalists and requirements for obtaining a journalist’s card. However, the law on the protection of national symbols, adopted in 2021, could restrict journalism as some of its articles could be interpreted as penalising journalists who cover certain subjects or prominent figures. 

Economic context

Despite the government's promise to improve journalists’ working conditions, their situation remains precarious, making them vulnerable to commissioning articles for payment. An unofficial directive by the former government banned independent media from receiving government advertising, forcing several outlets to close. Although the media receive substantial subsidies, these do not provide a stable economic model, due to poor management.

Sociocultural context

Mauritania is multicultural and multiethnic, but members of the Moorish ethnic group control most media, which impacts content diversity. The media are reluctant to take on issues involving marital rape, sexuality and slavery, as well as corruption, the military, Islam and inequality between communities.


Journalists are rarely the victims of physical violence, but they may be subjected to verbal attacks and harassment campaigns on social media. While reporters can move freely throughout most of the country, some military zones near the eastern and northern borders are difficult to access without special authorisation.

Abuses in real time in Mauritania

Killed since 1st January 2024
0 journalists
0 media workers
Detained as of today
0 journalists
0 media workers