Modern Africa is relatively unfree compared to other regions of the world with regards to media. While there are some exceptions, most of the countries in the continent do not provide a stable atmosphere for free media. This is mainly due to the complete change of the region ushered in by intense colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Colonialism completely modified the region as we knew it. Independent villages, communities, and empires were operating successfully before European intervention. European colonialism and the fall of it led for arbitrary national borders to be formed, ones that do not accurately divide the nationalities of the people in the region. These incorrect national divides led to massive conflict within most of the newly formed nations. With intense conflict comes the need for stricter governments, and thus, intense media restriction to prevent coups, revolts, or rebellions.
The situation in the region has worsened due to modern economic globalization. International conglomerate companies often come to Africa to drain resources and provide little in return. This leads to the collapse and impoverishment of certain areas in Africa, thus leading to unstable governmental regimes and restricted media systems.
Evidently, the toxicity of the sheer amount of conflict in Africa provides a hostile environment for free media. While there are some advancements being made due to the internet and smart phones, the region is still very far from true press freedom. Its rocky past has definitely shaped its media of today.