The Gabonese Republic is a presidential republic, with a population of around 1.5 million people. It gained independence from France in 1960, and has had only three presidents in the intervening years. However, a multi-party system under a democratic constitution are now place. Petroleum-rich with a low population density have made Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Constitution and government

The constitution and other laws and policies protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom of expression, assembly and association. However, in practice there is oppressive censorship and harassment of any criticism of the government.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

Press freedom is guaranteed by law but restricted in practice. State-controlled outlets dominate the media, and are routinely biased in favour of the governing party. There are some independent media and journalists, but they are sometimes threatened with legal and physical harassment.

The government-controlled National Communication Council frequently suspends news outlets following critical reporting. In January 2012, the broadcaster TV+ was suspended for three months for broadcasting a national address by opposition politician Mba Obame. TV+ , which is closely associated with Mba Obame, has also been pushed off the air by repeated acts of sabotage. Also in 2012, the newspaper Echos Du Nord was suspended for two months, while the newspapers, Embozolo and La Une, were suspended for six months over articles criticizing the president.

Journalists have also been arrested and harassed for reporting on alleged criminal activity by politicians and government officials, including the alleged role of politicians in widespread ritual killings in Gabon.

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