Since 1990, the African media landscape has experienced an unprecedented growth that happened together with a wave of democratisation. The gradual entry of new actors has fed the revival of democratic optimism: the loosening of governments’ grip on information is often presented as a breakthrough towards more transparency and government’s accountability. However, only one percent of African citizens live in a free press environment today. Examples of government intervention or pressures on journalists are numerous and private media also suffer from ownership capture. In this chapter, we argue that the ownership-democracy nexus is shaped by the features of the media landscape: diversification of ownership is a necessary but not sufficient condition to reduce government capture. Using a number of country case studies, we show that economic and legal pressures faced by media companies undermine their long-run sustainability. Reliance on advertising revenues and lack of judicial safeguards help rationalise the simultaneous increase in competition and stagnation (or decrease) in press freedom, and the persistence of a “hidden media capture” mechanism in sub-Saharan Africa.