The restoration of democratic rule in 2014 has led to “a decline in censorship of content and political interference with outlets”, according to a 2015 report by Washington-based advocacy group Freedom House.
Following a coup in 2009, the Rajoelina government closed several outlets and radio stations were the target of physical attacks.
Censorship, harassment and intimidation were also reported.
Although nationwide broadcasting remains a state monopoly, there are hundreds of private local radio and TV stations. Radio is the main medium for news.
Situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife.
Traditionally, the Malagasy economy has been based on the cultivation of paddy rice, coffee, vanilla and cloves. But despite a wealth of natural resources and a tourism industry driven by its unique environment, the country remains one of the world’s poorest and heavily dependent on foreign aid.
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Madagascar has experienced repeated political instability, including coups, violent unrest and disputed elections.
The most recent coup in 2009 led to five years of political deadlock, international condemnation and economic sanctions. Despite the return of democratic elections in 2013, the political situation remains fragile.
The Republic of Madagascar
Population: 21.9 million
Major Languages: Malagasy (Official), French
Life expectancy: 65 years (men), 69 years (women)
Currency: Ariary (1 ZAR = 239.9 MGA)
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