|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