|Official Country Name:||Republic of Suriname|
|Region (Map name):||South America|
|Language(s):||Dutch, English, Sranang Tongo, Surinamese (Taki-Taki), Hindustani, Javanese|
Suriname is located on the north coast of South America, on the Atlantic Ocean between Guyana and French Guiana. Originally settled by the English around 1650, they gave the region to the Dutch two decades later in exchange for the land that is now New York. The Dutch maintained colonial rule until 1975, when Suriname was granted full independence. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the fledging country endured two military coups, one of which lasted seven years and resulted in the creation of a socialist republic. Democratic elections were held in 1987, but a 1990 coup briefly interrupted democratic governance.
The population of Suriname is around 431,000 with an estimated 93 percent literacy rate. Dutch is the official language, but other languages are also spoken. The National Assembly is elected by popular vote; the president and vice president are elected by the National Assembly. Bauxite mining provides the largest source of revenue, followed by gold mining. The timber industry also plays a major role in the economy.
The constitution and government of Suriname generally respects freedom of the press, but self-censorship by journalists still exists to a limited extent due to the policies of the previous administration, which included harassment and intimidation. There are two privately owned daily newspapers, De Ware Tijd and De West. Both are published in Dutch and maintain independent Web sites.
Suriname has 17 radio stations, four AM and 13 FM, of which three are state-owned. The stations reach approximately 300,000 radios. Two state-owned television stations and one privately owned station broadcast to approximately 63,000 televisions. The country has two Internet service providers.
De Ware Tijd. (2002). Available from http://www.dwt.net/ .
De West. (2002). Available from http://www.dewestonline.com/ .
"Suriname." In The World Press Freedom Review. (2001). Available from http://www.freemedia.at/wpfr/world.html .
"Suriname." Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In The CIA World Factbook 2001. Available from http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ .
Jenny B. Davis