The Mauritian press enjoys a long tradition of freedom and pluralism. It is among the oldest in the world the first paper was painted in 1773. Since then,
more than one thousand newspapers and periodicals have appeared. This figure may seem fairly for a small country like Mauritius, but a large number of these publications have had relatively short lives; about
two-thirds of them have been in existence for less than five years.
Today there are about five dailies (including one in Chinese), some ten weeklies as well as a number of periodicals. These papers reflect the plurality of ideas and interests
of the varied social structure of the country, and represent one of the active elements of a lively democracy. The freedom they enjoy is clearly evidenced by the wide coverage and vigorous editorial comment on
varied issues of public interest. There is no state control or censorship of the press, but it is subject to the general laws on publication (notification of publication, reproduction of printers’ imprint,
sedition, defamation, right of reply, etc).
Radio and television services are provided throughout the country by the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, a corporate body set up under an Act of Parliament in June 1964. It
is independent in the conduct of its day to day business and other activities. It is administered and controlled by a board, which is appointed by the Ministry of Information.
Television was inaugurated on the 8th February 1965. Regarded as a means of diffusion of information, education, entertainment and intellectual cohesion, television has penetrated almost every home in Mauritius and has also been introduced in the island of Rodrigues since November 1987. Colour television became a reality in December 1975 and since March 1989, international news events are illustrated by daily satellite feeds. Many international events, including sports, are broadcast live on television and radio.
A new law is under preparation to liberalise broadcasting in Mauritius whereby private enterprises will own Radio and T.V channels.
The cinema halls show films mostly imported from India, Europe and the United States. With the exception of Indian films, most of the other films are dubbed in French.
Films scheduled for public exhibition must be submitted to a Board of Film Censors.
With the widespread use of video equipment, cinema halls have been facing stiff competition. The law has been amended to prevent the exhibition, in public, of slides and
video tapes against payment.
Local production of films is mainly of the documentary type. Most of them are produced by institutions having the necessary technical facilities, namely the Ministry of
Information, the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, the Mauritius College of the Air. A Mauritius Film Development Corporation has been set up to promote the film industry. It has organized a number of
film festivals and has established relationships with international bodies for the promotion of film activities.