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Sao Tome and Principe

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Last updated on 01.01.2017 at 12:43

Sao Tome and Principe - Overview

In law, the São Tomé and Príncipe constitution provides strong protections for fundamental freedoms related to civic space.

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Association

The freedom of association is generally respected and CSOs are largely free to operate.

The freedom of association is generally respected and CSOs are largely free to operate. The São Tomé and Príncipe constitution, as amended in 1990, expressly protects the freedom of association in Article 34. The constitution allows citizens to freely form associations ‘so long as they are not contrary to the penal law or do not question the Constitution and national independence.’ The right of workers to organise and bargain collectively, and to hold strikes, is also respected.

Peaceful Assembly

The right to hold demonstrations is guaranteed to citizens under article 33 of the constitution.

The right to hold demonstrations is guaranteed to citizens under article 33 of the constitution. Article 33.1 states that ‘all citizens have the right to meet, peacefully and without arms, even in places open to the public.’ Two days’ notice must be given by organisers in advance of any public gathering.

Expression

While the state controls the country’s only radio and TV stations along with a local press agency, the freedom of expression is respected.

While the state controls the country’s only radio and TV stations along with a local press agency, the freedom of expression is respected. The country has one state-run newspaper and three privately-owned publications. Opposition views are aired on radio and TV and newsletters that criticise the government are circulated without restriction. There is no law against independent broadcasting, and citizens can also access foreign broadcasts. There are no restrictions on internet usage, although a lack of infrastructure limits access. Only around a quarter of citizens is online. Although article 28 of the constitution protects the freedom of expression and information, São Tomé and Príncipe does not have a law providing for citizens to gain access to information held by public institutions.