There were no reports of abuses of religious freedom; however, the unelected de facto regime, which assumed power with military support in 2009, imposed restrictions that affected members of religious groups.
The de facto regime often subjected members of the FJKM to harassment and restrictions, but this was due more to its association with ousted President Marc Ravalomanana than to an explicit policy to limit religious freedom.
In May a court acquitted two FJKM pastors of murder charges, inciting rebellion, and civil disobedience. The case was connected with the 2010 protests, which led to clashes between protesters, rebel gendarmes, and state security forces. Both continued to face threats and intimidation when they appeared publicly.
FJKM-sponsored Radio Fhazavana remained off the air. The de facto regime indefinitely postponed FJKM-sponsored legal actions to reopen the station, although at year’s end the FJKM was still actively trying to reopen it.
The de facto regime restricted the right to perform religious acts in public, and limited the right to assemble for peaceful religious activities such as worship and preaching. The de facto regime allowed open-air worship only with official authorization. While most religious groups routinely received such authorization, the de facto regime permitted the FJKM-associated Ecclesiastic Movement (HMF) to hold public worship only twice, in May and November. Although the de facto regime denied nearly a dozen other requests, when it did grant requests, it was usually at the last minute and for a different location than asked. The de facto regime prevented the FJKM from holding worship services in large public spaces, such as stadiums and sports complexes, but allowed other religious groups to do so.
On April 23, de facto Vice Prime Minister Hajo Andrianainarivelo reportedly used security forces to expel the tenants of a building on formerly state-owned land. The former administration had reportedly sold the property to the FJKM, which had leased it until 2018 to a private company that also operated a Muslim charity. The de facto regime did not recognize the sale as legal, and evicted the tenants after they did not vacate the premises by the deadline imposed by authorities.
Muslim leaders estimated as many as 4 percent of Muslims do not have citizenship, despite being born in the country and having longstanding family ties, because the law restricts citizenship to children of two Malagasy citizens. Other Muslim leaders suggested that their ethnic and religious affiliation sometimes limited their access to government services and financial assistance. Muslims reported that access to basic administrative services, such as obtaining a national identification card, was often a more complicated and bureaucratic endeavor for citizens with Muslim-sounding names. Individuals attempting to register names of non-profit organizations containing Arabic words also reported difficulties.
Interior ministry officials estimated that 135 religious groups registered with the ministry. According to media reports, religious group registrations increased during the year, although many religious groups reportedly continued to operate without official state recognition.
State-run Malagasy National Television (TVM) provided free broadcasting only to the Seventh-day Adventist church and to the four churches belonging to the FFKM on Sundays, and to the Islamic community, once a week. During Ramadan, the Islamic community was able to purchase additional airtime.