Committee to Protect Journalists
Country Report: Suriname
As of December 31, 1998

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The antagonism between the press and the government that marked the end of 1997, when Desi Bouterse, the Adviser of State, publicly insulted journalists, diminished after journalists denounced the conflict in both domestic and international forums. The press has been able to cover widespread protests and strikes which started in June after Suriname's currency was devalued and its economy stalled. Yet intimidation, lack of information, and the absence of a tradition of investigative journalism contribute overall to a certain degree of self-censorship.

Bouterse, a former army commander who is leader of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), repeatedly called reporters "villains and scoundrels" during NDP meetings at the beginning of the year. These insults ceased after reporters notified local authorities and the Caribbean Association of Media Workers. Nevertheless, journalists who write stories critical of the government continue to receive threatening phone calls. And Dutch journalists working in Suriname say they are also the target of intimidation.

Suriname has two daily newspapers and 19 radio stations. The three privately owned television stations broadcast only entertainment programming and international news; the two state-owned television stations feature the government's viewpoint. According to local reporters, government officials only provide information to the privately owned media during periodic press conferences.
Attacks on the Press in Suriname in 1998
Date Journalist Incident
06/23/98 Armand Snijders, United Dutch Publishers (VNU) Newspaper Unit Attacked

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