There is a worrying trend within the African media with a growing number of people now saying that the government should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things that it considers harmful to society.
A recent survey by Afrobarometer showed that 18 of the 34 countries surveyed shared this sentiment. Mozambique was unique with 45 percent calling for media freedom and 44 percent saying government should intervene.
Respondents were asked: Which of the following statements is closest to your view?
Statement 1: The media should have the right to publish any views and ideas without government control.
Statement 2: The government should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things that it considers harmful to society.
Support for media freedom was lowest in West Africa with 40 percent for and 57 percent against.
The highest demand for media freedom was in North Africa with 53 percent for and 41 percent against.
Southern Africa topped the list for media freedom with 70 percent in Madagascar saying the media should have the right to publish any views without government control, followed by Malawi and Botswana in fourth place.
Zimbabwe and South Africa were almost tied with 54 percent for in South Africa and 53 percent in Zimbabwe.
In South Africa 43 percent wanted government intervention while in Zimbabwe it was only 40 percent.
Senegal topped the list that wanted greater government intervention with 79 percent saying the government should have the right to intervene while in Southern Africa, Lesotho topped the list with 64 percent advocating government intervention.