Journalists physically and verbally attacked at Senate meeting


Belize dropped five places in the Reporters without Borders (RSF) 2017 World Press Freedom Index, which stated that “coverage of political developments (…) is polemical because the media have become polarized” in the country. This can lead to court cases where the media outlets are burdened with lengthy and expensive legal hearings. Another issue in Belize is that internet access is expensive and among the slowest in the region, making it problematic for citizens to consistently access news and information online. 

RSF also found that occasional attacks against media professionals remain a concern. One such incident occurred in May 2017 during a Senate Select Committee meeting in the National Assembly on allegations of corruption in the Immigration Department. Members of the United Democratic Party reportedly verbally and physically attacked journalists who were reporting on the details of the meeting. The journalists consider the assault an act of "political intimidation".

Following the incident, the Belize Network of Non-governmental Organisations issued a statement condemning the incident and highlighting the important role that media play in a democratic society.