The unelected de facto regime, which assumed power with military support in 2009, often subjected members of the FJKM to harassment and restrictions. Because of the FJKM’s close association with ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, it was difficult to classify these restrictions specifically as instances of religious intolerance.
FJKM-sponsored Radio Fahazavana 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 required a permit for all public demonstrations, including religious acts such as outdoor worship services. While most religious groups routinely received such authorization, the de facto regime permitted the FJKM-associated Ecclesiastic Movement (HMF) to hold public worship services only on four occasions. Authorities also prohibited the HMF from holding outdoor public worship services on church property. The de facto regime prevented the FJKM from holding worship services in large public spaces, such as stadiums and sports complexes, which were often used for campaigning during the electoral season. The de facto regime, however, allowed the Catholic Church to hold a large public worship ceremony at the coliseum on October 20, just days before the first round of presidential elections.
Muslim leaders estimated up to 5 percent of Muslims did not have citizenship, despite being born in the country and having longstanding family ties, because the law restricted citizenship to children of two Malagasy citizens. Other Muslim leaders stated 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.
The Ministry of Interior registered 24 new religious groups during the year, for a total of approximately 160 officially registered groups. According to media reports, however, many religious groups continued to operate without official 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 Council of Christian Churches in Madagascar (FFKM, representing Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Presbyterians) on Sundays, and to the Islamic community once a week. During Ramadan the Islamic community was able to purchase additional airtime.