Africa

2009


Alerts   |   Somalia

Somali radio station and TV satellite destroyed; one dead

New York, December 21, 2009—Mortar shells destroyed the Radio Voice of Democracy building this morning in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, killing Amal Abukar, 22, the wife of the director of the station, Abdirahman Yasin. Abukar died instantly after three mortar shells landed on the station’s building in northern Mogadishu at 10:30 a.m., local journalists told CPJ. Yasin and a producer, Adam Hussein, were injured in the attack.

Blog   |   Somalia

My experience at the deadly Hotel Shamo bombing

Mohamed Olad Hassan, at left, a reporter for the BBC and The Associated Press, and chairman of the Somali Foreign Correspondents Association, recounts his experience covering a deadly ceremony in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Olad narrowly escaped death after a suicide bomber killed at least 23 people on December 3 at the graduation ceremony at Hotel Shamo. Three journalists were killed in the attack...

Blog   |   CPJ, USA

CPJ staff blogs about record death toll

CPJ staffers blogged around the Web today, touching on various issues from our 2009 census of journalists killed. Deputy Director Robert Mahoney has a piece contextualizing the numbers on The Huffington Post; Washington Representative Frank Smyth blogged for The Hill about the importance of the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act; and Tom Rhodes, CPJ Africa program coordinator, wrote an article for World Focus on the decade-high toll for journalists in Africa.

Full posts are available at: The Huffington PostThe Hill Blog, and World Focus.
December 17, 2009 3:56 PM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Colombia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela

Philippines, Somalia fuel record death toll

CPJ survey finds at least 68 journalists killed in 2009

Family members of journalists killed in the Maguindanao massacre. (Reuters)

New York, December 17, 2009—At least 68 journalists worldwide were killed for their work in 2009, the highest yearly tally ever documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the organization said in its year-end analysis. The record toll was driven in large part by the election-related slaughter of more than 30 media workers in the Philippine province of Maguindanao, the deadliest event for the press in CPJ history.

Alerts   |   Cameroon

Cameroonian editor under arrest

Journalducameroun.comNew York, December 15, 2009—The managing editor of a private newspaper in Cameroon has been held in police custody since Thursday, accused of insulting President Paul Biya, according to local journalists and news reports. Managing Editor Jean-Bosco Talla, at left, of the weekly Germinal was picked up by police in the capital, Yaoundé, on Thursday and taken to the State Secretariat for Defense, headquarters of the military police, for questioning over a front-page item, according to the same sources. 

December 15, 2009 3:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance

How to help journalists in prison

Today CPJ released its annual census of imprisoned journalists around the world. Citing 136 journalists jailed for their work around the world, the report brings to the foreground one of the toughest issues CPJ and other advocacy groups grapple with: Advocacy working at its best can make a difference over time and, in some cases, can win the early release of journalists from prison. But when that fails what can be done to for journalists languishing in jail, often in horrifying conditions?

December 8, 2009 10:58 AM ET

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Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen

CPJ's 2009 prison census: Freelance journalists under fire

Demonstrators demand the release of documentary filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, jailed in China after interviewing Tibetans. (AFP)

New York, December 8, 2009—Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ found a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally. (Read detailed accounts of each imprisoned journalist.) A massive crackdown in Iran, where 23 journalists are now in jail, fueled the worldwide increase.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Explosion kills three Somali journalists in Mogadishu

Mohamed Amin (NUSOJ)

New York, December 3, 2009—Three journalists were among the victims of a suicide bombing at a Benadir University graduation ceremony in Mogadishu today. At least 22 people were killed at Hotel Shamo, including three government ministers, by suspected Islamic insurgents, according to The Associated Press.

Hassan Zubeyr, a cameraman for the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television network and Radio Shabelle reporter Mohamed Amin were killed instantly in the explosion, local journalists told CPJ. Abdulkhafar Abdulkadir, who recently took up freelance photography part-time, died of injuries in the hospital, according to local journalists. CPJ was unable to determine immediately if Abdulkadir was on assignment for a specific outlet.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, CPJ, China, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia

Seen and heard at CPJ benefit: 'The pen is not broken'

Small in stature but strong in her words, Naziha Réjiba tells a reporter of all the things the Tunisian government does to try to frighten her. But Réjiba said that she will not be scared, that she will never allow such tactics to have power over her. Editor of Kalima, an online news Web site blocked in her own country, Réjiba was honored Tuesday at CPJ’s International Press Freedom Awards at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria for displaying just that sort of courage. Four other leading journalists were recognized as well. 

Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Didace Namujimbo, the brother I lost in Bukavu

Didace Namujimbo, right, with colleague Serge Maheshe at Radio Okapi offices in 2006. Both were later murdered. (Déo Namujimbo)

I shall never forgive myself for having initiated and encouraged my younger brother, Didace Namujimbo, to take up journalism. Working for 21 years in Bukavu, a city nestled on the picturesque shores of Lake Kivu, led me to cover every aspect of the brutal conflict and humanitarian catastrophe in this part of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but a year ago nothing prepared me to deal with the news that my brother had been killed.

November 20, 2009 5:14 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia

Honored for their work, threatened at home

CPJ introduces 2009 International Press Freedom Awardees


Naziha Réjiba (CPJ/Jeremy Bigwood) Washington, November 19, 2009Naziha Réjiba, editor of the Tunisian online news journal Kalima, said she knows what to expect when she returns home—surveillance, harassment, and threats conducted by one the world’s most repressive governments.

Blog   |   Zambia

Zambian editor acquitted in hospital 'obscenity' case

Chansa Kabwela speaks to reporters. (Thomas Nsama)

As the news editor of Zambia’s largest circulation newspaper and a mother to two young children, Chansa Kabwela already has her hands full. For the last four months, however, this 29-year-old journalist was mired in a court case with a peculiarity that made international headlines and sparked a debate on press freedom in this landlocked nation in southern Africa. The case was finally resolved on Monday.

November 17, 2009 5:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Malawi

The Malawian who harnessed the airwaves

Villagers gather at Kondesi's radio station. (Zodiak Broadcasting)

After The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the autobiography of ingenious 22-year-old William Kamkwamba’s homemade electric windmill in Malawi, comes “the boy who harnessed the airwaves” by building a radio station with rudimentary materials. The tale of 21-year-old Malawian Gabriel Kondesi also showcases the inventiveness spawned by life in this impoverished, landlocked nation in southeastern Africa. Unlike the story of Kamkwamba, though, Kondesi’s tale is still unfolding.

November 16, 2009 2:28 PM ET

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Statements   |   Zambia

CPJ pleased by Kabwela acquittal in Zambia

We issued the following statement after the Lusaka Magistrate Court acquitted Zambian journalist Chansa Kabwela today on pornography charges. The independent daily Post editor was charged with pornography for disseminating photos to several government officials of a woman giving birth in a hospital car park during a nurses strike in June...

November 16, 2009 1:25 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gabon

CPJ condemns suspension of six newspapers in Gabon

New York, November 12, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the suspension of six private newspapers by the government-controlled media-monitoring body, the National Communications Council, in Gabon. The council announced the suspensions, which range from one to three months, on Tuesday evening on state-run TV. The papers have been suspended for “violating the ethics of journalism” and “inciting ethnic divisions” according to local reports.
November 12, 2009 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, Canada, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, UAE, USA

Toronto’s Citizen Lab uses forensics to fight online censors

A basement in the gray, Gothic heart of the University of Toronto is home to the CSI of cyberspace. “We are doing free expression forensics,” says Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, based at the Munk Centre for International Studies. Deibert and his team of academics and students investigate in real time governments and companies that restrict what we see and hear on the Internet. They are also trying to help online journalists and bloggers slip the shackles of censorship and surveillance. Deibert is a co-founder of the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a project of the Citizen Lab in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. ONI tracks the blocking and filtering of the Internet around the globe.

November 2, 2009 3:29 PM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Multimedia, Russia

Video Report: Portraits of the Fallen



In “Portraits of the Fallen,” a video introduction to CPJ’s database of killed journalists, María Salazar-Ferro examines the circumstances in which reporters, photographers, editors, and other journalists have died on duty. Because hundreds of journalists have been murdered in reprisal for their work, CPJ is leading a Global Campaign Against Impunity. (4:11) 

Visit our database of journalists killed since 1992. Get involved in our Campaign Against Impunity.
October 26, 2009 9:42 AM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Turkey

A memorial to killed journalists, a call to action

Natalya Estemirova (AP)We've launched a new section of our Web site, and we hope you take a few minutes to read some of its pages. There is one, for example, on Russian reporter Natalya Estemirova, who dared to examine human rights crimes in Chechnya. Another is devoted to Francisco Javier Ortiz Franco, a Tijuana newspaper editor who exposed the workings of the Arellano Félix drug cartel. They are among the 758 journalists killed for their work since 1992. Our new database memorializes these women and men, most of whom were local reporters, photographers, producers, and editors who confronted the powerful or took unpopular positions.

October 19, 2009 9:07 AM ET

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Blog   |   Nigeria

Q&A: Wife enters journalism after husband’s murder

Blessing Bayo Ohu and four of her children. (Vanguard)
The killers of Nigerian Editor Bayo Ohu are still a mystery, three weeks after his murder. Now the family of the former Guardian newspaper journalist lives in fear. Ohu was shot dead early on Sunday morning, September 20, by a gang of five armed men and a woman in his apartment in Egbeda, a Lagos suburb in Nigeria. His killers made away with his laptop and cell phone, raising speculation that he was killed for his work as a journalist. Nigerian Police Commissioner Marvel Akpoyido told CPJ that investigations are ongoing.
October 14, 2009 1:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese journalists protest insecurity, threats

Reporter Jolly Kamuntu is more than eight months pregnant, but she joined hundreds of Congolese journalists today in nationwide protest marches against insecurity and threats. Kamuntu, who is based in Bukavu, where three reporters have been murdered since 2007, was cited recently in an anonymous text message threatening to kill her and two other local journalists, Delphie Namuto and Caddy Adzuba, if they did not stop “interfering in what does not concern them.” That did not stop her from undertaking a recent reporting trip to Goma, north of Bukavu, where she interviewed refugees displaced by the conflict afflicting the minerals-rich region. “I’m still here. God is keeping me,” she told me.

October 8, 2009 5:56 PM ET

Blog   |   Nigeria

Journalist killed on a Sunday morning at home in Nigeria

Mourners at Bayo Ohu's funeral. (The Vanguard)

More than two weeks have passed since the cold-blooded killing of Bayo Ohu, assistant news editor and political reporter for the Lagos, Nigeria-based The Guardian. The 45-year-old, soft-spoken workaholic opened the door to his home early on Sunday, September 20, as he prepared for church. According to eyewitnesses and local reports, five gunmen and one female ringleader shot Ohu repeatedly in his doorway while his children hid inside. One of his children told The Guardian that from her hiding place she heard one of the men shouting in Yoruba, “Olori Buruki e ti ku”—“The fool is dead.” Curiously, the killers took only Ohu’s laptop and cell phones.

October 6, 2009 5:46 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Government suspends VOA service in Puntland

Deputy Information Minister Abdishakur Adan explains the VOA ban in Bossasso. (Horseed)

New York, October 2, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the suspension on Thursday of three Voice of America (VOA) reporters in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia. Puntland’s Deputy Minister of Information Abdishakur Mire Adan issued a letter suspending all three VOA correspondents and any other VOA journalist from reporting in the region. The suspended VOA correspondents included Nuh Muse in Garowe, Mohamed Yasin Isak in Galkayo, and Abdulkadir Mohamed in Bossasso. 

October 2, 2009 2:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

A journalist in the hands of Somali pirates

Somali pirates in Hobyo, north of Mogadishu. (EPA)Shadows of emerging skyscrapers in a neighborhood in Nairobi come alive as the sun glides down the western horizon. I am walking down one of the deserted streets in the city’s Eastleigh shantytown. Lately, Eastleigh has become a contradiction of sorts. While the roads remain as torn as ever and clean drinking water and other social amenities remain out of reach, there is a new aura of affluence among the numerous huge buildings that seem to be coming up overnight.
October 1, 2009 11:30 AM ET

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Letters   |   Senegal

CPJ urges Senegal to decriminalize press offenses

Dear Mr. President: The Committee to Protect Journalists is heartened by your recent directive to the prime minister to renew consultations with the press on the decriminalization of press offenses in Senegal. Yet your directive came on the same day a judge in the central town of Kaolack imprisoned two journalists who reported allegations of local government corruption in the distribution of seeds—a reminder of the urgent need for press law reform.

September 23, 2009 2:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea

September 18, 2001, in Eritrea: A memory that never fades

Aaron Berhane (Axel Öberg-Dagens Nyhete)It feels like it happened just yesterday. It was 7 a.m. on an average day in September in Asmara, Eritrea. My brain was still reshuffling the information I had gathered about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center a week earlier. I was writing an article on it for the next issue of Setit, the twice-weekly newspaper of which I was editor-in-chief.
September 18, 2009 3:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

In Uganda, citizen journalists fill news gap during riots

(Joseph Kiggundu/Monitor)Last week in Uganda, authorities reacted to violent anti-government demonstrations, at left, by yanking at least four radio stations off the air and banning political programming and some journalists from the airwaves.  I have been covering the Ugandan blogosphere for Global Voices for more than two years. News of the violence first reached me on Thursday afternoon, not through the BBC or The New York Times, but on Twitter. It came in seven words, sent via SMS to the micro-blogging service by my friend Solomon King, a Web developer in the capital, Kampala: “Okay. We're like running for our lives.” 
September 17, 2009 2:56 PM ET

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Blog   |   Rwanda

Rwandan minister: ‘It’s OK to be anti-government’

CPJ sat down recently with the Rwandan minister of information, Louise Mushikiwabo, who spoke of several media developments, including a new press law. “I am convinced the new legislation will help professionalize our media—there were many holes in the former law,” she told CPJ. Some, however, do not share her enthusiasm. 

September 10, 2009 12:41 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gabon

Gabonese media under attack since election

Soldiers guard Gabon's election commission. (AFP/Getty)

New York, September 3, 2009--Five journalists and a TV station covering Gabon's disputed presidential election, which has already been marred by media censorship, have been attacked since Wednesday, according to local journalists and news reports.

Official results announced today declared Ali Ben Bongo--son of Omar Bongo, the late 41-year ruler of the oil-rich, equatorial nation--the winner of Sunday's vote between 18 candidates, but challenges to the results turned to violent unrest. Journalists and media outlets with perceived partisanship to Bongo or his rivals have come under attack. 

September 3, 2009 5:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Zambia

Zambian paper's staff summoned on contempt charges

New York, August 31, 2009--A magistrate in Zambia issued a summons today for the entire editorial staff of the southern African country's largest independent newspaper to appear in court on Wednesday on contempt charges, according to local journalists and news reports. The ruling was prompted by an op-ed commenting on the prosecution of the paper's news editor. 

August 31, 2009 5:45 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cameroon

Cameroon shutters radio station over talk program

CRTVNew York, August 19, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ calls on Cameroonian authorities to reopen a private radio station shut down on Monday over a popular talk show.

About 20 paramilitary police summarily sealed the studios of Sky One Radio, based in the capital, Yaoundé, the station's president, Joseph Angoula Angoula, told CPJ. The station was accused of "recurring violations of legal and administrative regulations" of media laws, according to a statement on the Web site of Cameroon's Communications Ministry. The statement did not detail the violations.

August 19, 2009 5:08 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Niger

Niger editor sentenced to prison

New York, August 19, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a prison sentence given on Tuesday to the editor of a private newspaper in Niger. Abdoulaye Tiémogo, editor of the weekly Le Canard Déchaîné, has been in police custody in the capital, Niamey, since August 1. 

August 19, 2009 4:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Uganda's Museveni issues warning to news media

President Yoweri Museveni (AFP)

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda lashed out at private broadcasters last week, accusing them of unethical reporting. The comments come in the midst of two important, ongoing developments: mounting public criticism of Museveni's policies and the government's criminal prosecutions of six journalists for their coverage.

August 19, 2009 1:19 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia, Kenya

Ethiopia pushes Kenyan TV to drop report on rebels

OLF rebels in Ethiopia. (Reuters)

Last week, the Ethiopian government tried to force private Kenyan broadcaster Nation Television (NTV) to drop a four-part exclusive report on separatist rebels in southern Ethiopia. NTV aired the first two parts of "Inside Rebel Territory: Rag-Tag Fighters of the Oromo Liberation Front," which led Ethiopia's ambassador to Kenya to accuse the Nation Media Group of giving a platform to a terrorist organization, the daily Nation reported. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), whose Web site is among several authorities block in Ethiopia, is fighting for greater autonomy for the Oromos, the largest ethnic group in the south of the vast Horn of Africa nation.

August 10, 2009 4:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Niger

Niger president tightens grip on media with amendment

Reuters

In Niger today, the government is holding a public referendum on a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for President Mamadou Tandja to run for office indefinitely. It would also further increase the former army colonel's control over the press. Tandja, at left, has charged ahead with the referendum despite overwhelming public opposition after he dissolved a resistant constitutional court and the National Assembly.

August 4, 2009 6:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

For RFI, static in Kinshasa

Like many radio listeners in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, I tune to Radio France Internationale (RFI) on 93.4 FM or 105 FM. But beginning on July 24, the frequencies carried nothing but static. It was no accident. Media reports quoted government spokesman Lambert Mende as declaring a ban on RFI broadcasts.

August 3, 2009 1:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Only the Gambian president has press freedom

(AFP)

On July 22, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh once again went after journalists in an interview on the country's only state-run television station. The president made a thinly veiled threat toward six independent journalists currently facing "seditious publication" and "criminal defamation" charges in the country: "So they think they can hide behind so-called press freedom and violate the law and get away with it. They got it wrong this time. We are going to prosecute them to the letter," Jammeh said. 

July 31, 2009 4:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Madagascar

In Madagascar, media torn along partisan lines

Madagascar's political crisis has led to public distrust of the media. (AFP)"Are you sure about coming back here now?" My cousin in Antananarivo was a bit hesitant about the wisdom of my plan to visit the family while the political crisis was still weighing on the daily lives of Malagasy citizens. I had not been back to my home country in nine years until this summer. Prior to that, I went back every year since I left Madagascar after high school. It may have seemed like a peculiar decision to go back when the situation was less than ideal but it was the one time when my work would allow me to stay for almost a full month.
July 29, 2009 10:51 AM ET

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Letters   |   Ethiopia

Anti-terrorism legislation further restricts Ethiopian press

Dear Prime Minister: We are writing to express our serious concerns about legislation that would further restrict press freedom in Ethiopia and about an ongoing pattern of criminal prosecutions, administrative restrictions, and Internet censorship. We are concerned that these measures, which official rhetoric has publicly justified as policies to safeguard the "constitutional order," actually criminalize independent political coverage and infringe on press freedom as guaranteed by the Ethiopian Constitution. We call on you to use your influence to reverse this trend.

Blog   |   USA

Walter Cronkite's press freedom legacy

Walter Cronkite had such a profound impact in so many ways that one might overlook an important part of his legacy--his long efforts on behalf of international press freedom and his advocacy on behalf of local journalists around the world. Cronkite was a vital participant in the launch of the Committee to Protect Journalists 28 years ago and, though his title here may have been honorary co-chairman, he was an active force throughout the years.

July 17, 2009 9:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Namibia

In Namibia seal hunt, journalists said to become prey

July marks the start of seal hunting season in Namibia, where hunters will be allowed to kill more than 90,000 seals. British journalist Jim Wickens and South African cameraman Bart Smithers filmed the event near Cape Cross Colony on Thursday morning for a British advocacy organization, Ecostorm. That is, until the journalists became the hunted.

July 17, 2009 4:56 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Republic of Congo

Media harassed in Brazzaville after disputed election

President Sassou-Nguesso (AFP)New York, July 17, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the harassment of international journalists covering this week's disputed presidential elections in Republic of Congo.

On Wednesday, police smashed the camera of videographer Marlène Rabaud of France 24 while she was filming the dispersal of an opposition demonstration in the capital, Brazzaville, according to local journalists and news reports. France 24 colleague Arnaud Zajtman, who was also on the scene, told CPJ that officers shoved them and confiscated their footage.
July 17, 2009 3:17 PM ET

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Letters   |   Cameroon

In Cameroon, pattern of press freedom abuses

Dear President Biya: We are very concerned about an ongoing pattern of abuses against press freedom in Cameroon. In particular, we are alarmed by recent death threats against an editor, the recent prosecution of two others by a military tribunal, and the lengthy imprisonments of another two on libel charges. We call on you to use your influence to end practices that are undermining the free flow of information.

Letters   |   Niger

Niger ramps up censorship

Dear Mr. President: We are writing to express our alarm at your administration's increasing restrictions on the Nigerien private press. We are concerned by the ongoing censorship of stories about the public opposition to your plans for a constitutional amendment that would scrap presidential term limits.

July 10, 2009 4:08 PM ET

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Letters   |   Gambia

CPJ seeks release of Ebrima Manneh in Gambia

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalist urges you to end an unprecedented level of intimidation and detention of Gambian journalists by national security forces. Today marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of journalist "Chief" Ebrima Manneh--his whereabouts, health, and legal status are unknown. Manneh, a former reporter for the Daily Observer, was taken into government custody by security agents in July 2006.

July 7, 2009 2:24 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Sixth Somali journalist killed this year

New York, July 6, 2009--The Committee to Protect journalists is saddened by the death of Radio IQK journalist Mohamud Mohamed Yusuf who was shot twice in the stomach on Saturday in the capital, Mogadishu. Yusuf, commonly known as "Ninile," was hit by stray bullets after leaving the station in Afarta Jardin, northern Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. 

July 6, 2009 4:07 PM ET

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Statements   |   Gambia

Seven journalists rearrested in the Gambia

We issued the following statement in response to reports that the Gambia's High Court jailed six journalists today who were charged with sedition and criminal defamation. One of the seven journalists, a mother of a young child, was rearrested but then freed on bail...

July 3, 2009 6:17 PM ET

Blog   |   Eritrea

Press, politics at center of Eritrean mock trial

A 2001 edition of Meqaleh. (CPJ)Articles published in Eritrea's now-banned private newspapers are at the center of a mock political trial being filmed as an educational documentary this week at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Inside a courtroom on the sprawling Tempe, Ariz., campus, a judge of the High Court of Eritrea presides dispassionately, international observers lean into translation headphones, and defense lawyers challenge prosecutors to detail the vague antistate charges against 11 political dissidents. It's a trial that the real defendants were never afforded when they were jailed nearly eight years ago.
July 2, 2009 5:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Nigeria

CPJ urges Nigeria to probe police harassment, assault

New York, June 29, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on national police Inspector General Mike Okiro to investigate reports that Delta state police harassed six journalists and attacked at least three of them last week. The Nigerian Union of Journalists Delta State Chapter said police attached to the state Ministry of Land prevented the journalists from reporting on the June 23 demolition of several buildings on government land. 

June 29, 2009 5:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Senegal

A year later, impunity in attacks on Senegalese media

A year ago last week in Senegal, two reporters covering a soccer match were assaulted with tasers, handcuffed, and abused by police officers after the reporters refused to halt a post-game interview at Léopold Sédar Senghor Stadium in the capital, Dakar. A year on, Senegalese law enforcement has fallen short in bringing to account those responsible for this and other abuses against the media.

June 29, 2009 11:23 AM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

A Gambian journalist remembers torture in detention

The unlawful detention of seven Gambian journalists since last Monday is serious cause for concern. These respected journalists were detained at the National Intelligence Agency headquarters in Banjul for "interrogation." They have been denied access by legal representation, family members, friends, or colleagues. On Thursday, they were charged with sedition for criticizing President Yahya Jammeh's televised comments about the unsolved 2004 murder of editor Deyda Hydara.

June 19, 2009 1:46 PM ET

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Letters   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

CPJ alarmed by DRC's ban on RFI broadcasts

Mr. President: We are alarmed by the government's decision to indefinitely ban FM broadcasts of Radio France Internationale (RFI) in the eastern cities of Bunia and Bukavu. We call on you to use your influence to reverse these rulings, which we believe deprive residents of eastern Congo of access to diverse sources of information about the conflict in their region.

June 19, 2009 10:42 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Gambia

Gambian journalists charged with sedition

New York, June 18, 2009--A magistrate in the Gambian capital, Banjul, today charged seven journalists with sedition for criticizing President Yahya Jammeh's televised comments about the unsolved 2004 murder of editor Deyda Hydara, their defense lawyer said. Gambian security forces arrested an eighth journalist this morning, although no charges were immediately brought, according to the Gambian Press Union President Ndey Tapha Sosseh
June 18, 2009 4:38 PM ET

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Reports   |   Iraq, Journalist Assistance, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Special Report: Journalists in Exile 2009

Sri Lankan journalists flee under severe pressure in the past year. Iraq and Somalia, two deadly countries for the press, also rank high in numbers of journalists forced into exile. Hundreds of journalists have been driven into exile this decade. By Karen Phillips

Sri Lankan journalists protest violence against the press. (Reuters)

Alerts   |   Gambia

Seven Gambian press leaders arrested over Hydara reaction

New York, June 16, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for Gambia's national security agency to release seven journalists it arrested on Monday. The detainees include leaders of the country's press union and editors of newspapers that published a union press release criticizing President Yahya Jammeh's recent comments about the unsolved 2004 murder of editor Deyda Hydara. 

June 16, 2009 4:06 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Gambia has 'no stake' in Hydara murder

(Agence France-Presse)

Last week, President Yahya Jammeh, at left, discussed the unsolved 2004 murder case of editor Deyda Hydara in an interview on "One on One," a weekly program on The Gambia Radio and Television Service. The government "has for long been accused by the international community and so-called human rights organisations for the murder of Deyda Hydara, but we have no stake in this issue," media reports quoted Jammeh as saying. "And up to now one of these stupid Web sites carries 'Who Killed Deyda Hydara'? Let them go and ask Deyda Hydara who killed him," The Point newspaper quoted him as saying. 

June 10, 2009 5:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Somali journalists leave profession in fear as another dies

The funeral of Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe. (NUSOJ)Somali journalists held an emotional press conference in Mogadishu today at the Sahafi Hotel after Sunday's fatal shooting of the former director of Shabelle Media Network. (Sahafi means "journalist" in Arabic.) Roughly 15 journalists from different news outlets announced they were suspending their work because of security concerns. "We can no longer operate independently and impartially, and our lives are in danger because of the chaotic situation in our country," said a statement signed by the journalists, who were mainly editors and producers at local radio and TV stations.

June 9, 2009 2:38 PM ET

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Blog   |   Germany, Security, Somalia

Good discussions in Bonn; murder in Mogadishu

Journalism conferences discussing global trends often
inflate the real but intermittent risks faced by foreign correspondents from
wealthier nations who travel to and report from less stable regions of the
world. They do so at the expense of downplaying if not plain ignoring the much
greater risks faced by local journalists who live in such areas with their
families and report daily for homegrown, regional media. The Deutsche Welle
annual Global Media Forum in Bonn is not one of them.

June 8, 2009 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Amnesty honors Manneh, others at Media Awards

Amnesty International paid special recognition last week to Ebrima B. Manneh, a Gambian journalist who has disappeared, at its prestigious annual Media Awards ceremony in London. As Amnesty International UK's campaigner for individuals at risk in Africa, I was thrilled to be present at the awards ceremony and to watch BBC News TV presenter Mishal Husain introduce a film clip about Manneh's tragic case in front of hundreds of world-class journalists and human rights activists.

June 8, 2009 3:06 PM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea

Eritrean president slams 'CIA-financed' media

(Reuters)

Last week, President Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea, Africa's leading jailer of journalists, discussed press freedom during an extensive interview with Swedish broadcaster TV4. Afeworki, a revered guerrilla commander who led this Red Sea country to nationhood in 1993, banned Eritrea's budding private media in 2001 and threw journalists in secret prisons without charge or trial. Speaking to Swedish journalist Donald Boström from his palace in the capital, Asmara, Afeworki, at left, took questions on the fate of long-held journalist Dawit Isaac, an Eritrean with Swedish citizenship, and lashed out at critics of the country's press freedom record. 

June 2, 2009 5:25 PM ET

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Case   |   Senegal

Journalist El Malick Seck freed by Senegal presidential pardon

On April 24, 2009, journalist El Malick Seck, who was serving a three-year prison sentence over an editorial implicating President Abdoulaye Wade and his son in an alleged money laundering scandal, was released on presidential pardon, according to local journalists and news reports. The sentence had been upheld in February. He was first imprisoned on August 28, 2008.

June 2, 2009 3:55 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gabon

Gabon targets media over coverage of Bongo's health

New York, May 27, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the government of Gabon's crackdown on independent media coverage of President Omar Bongo's hospitalization and potential succession issues. Bongo, Africa's longest-serving head of state, has been in a Spanish hospital since earlier this month amid conflicting reports about his condition.

May 27, 2009 2:36 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Australia, Canada, Somalia

Kidnapped journalists in Somalia reportedly ill

New York, May 26, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is very concerned about the well-being of two captive journalists, a Canadian and an Australian, who urged their respective governments to work harder for their release in a phone call with a reporter on Sunday. Both journalists said they were sick and being held in harsh conditions.

May 26, 2009 5:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Reporter dies of gunshot injuries; 4th fatality this year

NUSOJNew York, May 26, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by news that radio reporter Nur Muse Hussein died today as a result of gunshot wounds suffered while covering fighting in April. Hussein, left, a veteran correspondent for Radio IQK, suffered two bullet wounds to his right leg while reporting on clashes between militia groups in the central town of Beledweyn on April 20, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists.

May 26, 2009 4:49 PM ET

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Case

French journalist released after 17 months in prison

On May 7, 2009, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast, confirmed the provisional release of French freelance photojournalist Jean Paul Ney, who had been detained on anti-state charges since December 2007 in the Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction d'Abidjan prison. French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophone Countries Alain Joyandet announced the release on May 6, after a meeting with President Laurent Gbagbo at his residence in the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro. A lower court had already decided on March 20 to release Ney on bail, but the public prosecutor had appealed the ruling.  

May 21, 2009 5:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Q&A: Breaking gender boundaries in volatile eastern Congo

CPJFranchou Namegabe Nabintu, an award-winning journalist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, operates in one of the most dangerous regions for journalists in Africa. She is a founding member of the South Kivu's Association of Women Journalists (AFEM), which has trained female journalists and presents radio programs spotlighting women's issues, especially in rural areas. CPJ interviewed Nabintu, at left, on Tuesday, on the heels of her stirring testimony before the U.S. Senate last week to discuss the challenges of reporting in the volatile eastern province of South Kivu, where violence against women is commonplace. 

May 20, 2009 4:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   Madagascar

Amid political tumult, jailing draws protest in Madagascar

MadatimesIn Madagascar, dozens of journalists took to the streets of the capital, Antananarivo, to protest the imprisonment of radio presenter Evariste Ramanatsoavina, held since May 4. Ramanatsoavina, a presenter with Radio Mada, a now-banned station owned by ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, faces charges in connection with the station's political commentary. The case illustrates the volatile struggle for political control of this Indian Ocean island nation--a battle being waged in large part through partisan media outlets.

May 18, 2009 5:26 PM ET

Letters   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese governor urged to ensure journalist's safety

Dear Governor Kahongya: We are concerned about the safety of journalist Tuver Wundi Muhindo following an armed attack on his home in the North Kivu capital of Goma on April 12. The incident followed the 2007 murder of Goma photojournalist Patrick Kikuku Wilingula, which is still unsolved. We call on you to use your influence to ensure authorities conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

May 7, 2009 3:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo

Ossébi's byline missing as sensitive case moves forward

A French lawsuit challenges the assets of Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Gabonese President Omar Bongo. (AFP)A French judge on Tuesday authorized an anti-corruption group to pursue a complaint that questions how the leaders of three oil-rich, central African nations amassed their personal assets. One byline was absent in news media coverage: Bruno Ossébi, an online Congolese columnist and one of the few local journalists who had covered the sensitive issue. Ossébi died in February in a mysterious fire that destroyed his home and killed three others.

May 7, 2009 10:06 AM ET

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Blog   |   Zimbabwe

NABJ honors persecuted Zimbabwean journalist

IRIN

On Thursday, the U.S.-based National Association of Black Journalists announced the winner of its 2009 Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalists Award: Zimbabwean journalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere. Half a world away, however, Manyere, left, lingered in a hospital in the capital, Harare, traumatized by nearly four months of imprisonment, according to his lawyer.

May 1, 2009 9:58 AM ET

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Reports   |   Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Vietnam

10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger

CPJ names the worst online oppressors. Booming online cultures in many Asian and Middle Eastern nations have led to aggressive government repression. Burma leads the dishonor roll.

Blog   |   Republic of Congo

Congolese government reacts to CPJ report

The government of the Republic of Congo reacted over the weekend to last week's CPJ special report looking into the unsolved death of Franco-Congolese online journalist Bruno Jacquet Ossébi. We welcome the government's interest in the case and take note that an official spokesman did not dispute our findings. 
April 27, 2009 5:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Six senators call for Ebrima Manneh's immediate release

(GPU)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) leads a group of six senators to call for the immediate release of the former state Daily Observer newspaper, "Chief" Ebrima Manneh today. Colleagues at the newspaper say they witnessed two plainclothes Gambian National Intelligence Agency officers whisk Manneh, right, away in July 2006. He has not been seen since despite repeated calls to the government to disclose his whereabouts. 

April 23, 2009 10:08 AM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya

Mission Journal: Mysterious raid draws new concerns

On March 2, 2006, Kenyan state agents conducted a commando-style midnight raid on the Standard Group, owner of an independent daily and KTN Television in the capital, Nairobi. The agents seized computers and tapes, vandalized a printing press, and burned roughly 20,000 copies of The Standard, Chief Executive Officer Tom Mshindi told me recently in Nairobi. On each anniversary since, the Standard Group calls for inquiries into the raid. Paul Muite, a former member of parliament from Kabete and a vocal critic of President Mwai Kibaki, made a public statement at the Standard Group's office on this year's anniversary--and believes that, as a result, he is now being followed

April 22, 2009 11:43 AM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia, Security

Petition seeks a 'soft law' ruling in Manneh disappearance

Eyewitnesses saw him being led away. "We were in our Banjul newsroom on July
7, 2006, working on the next issue of the Daily Observer, when two plainclothes
officers with the Gambian National Intelligence Agency approached Chief," wrote Observer editor
and correspondent Ousman Darboe
. "I knew one of the officers as a Corporal
Sey. They told Chief, a subeditor and reporter at the paper, that he was needed
at the Bakau police station for questioning. He went along voluntarily, leaving
his bag behind and saying he was confident he would be back soon."

April 16, 2009 1:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gambia

Gambia must account for missing journalist Ebrima Manneh

New York, April 14, 2009--Gambian authorities must authoritatively account for the whereabouts, health, and legal status of journalist "Chief" Ebrima Manneh, who was taken into government custody by security agents in July 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities, who have held Manneh in secret locations since the arrest, have provided conflicting and incomplete accounts this month regarding his status.

April 14, 2009 4:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Liberia

A legal victory for press freedom in Bility case

Testifying at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Liberian journalist Hassan Bility described a harrowing 1997 reporting trip to Sierra Leone in which he documented Liberian government support for the brutal RUF rebels. His testimony was undoubtedly damaging to defendant Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in sponsoring the RUF, whose signature atrocity was hacking off the limbs of civilians, including young children.

March 27, 2009 1:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sierra Leone

Can Sierra Leone bring justice in fatal beating of editor?

The case had all the hallmarks of a sordid thriller. There was "a rogue politician, a journalist getting killed, a staunchly incurious police, and the media in frenzy," veteran journalist Lansana Gberie wrote in the New African, describing the fatal 2005 beating of editor Harry Yansaneh in Sierra Leone

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Getting Away With Murder 2009

CPJ’s Impunity Index spotlights countries
where journalists are slain and killers go free

New York, March 23, 2009 -- The already murderous conditions for the press in Sri Lanka and Pakistan deteriorated further in the past year, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index, a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Colombia, historically one of the world’s deadliest nations for the press, improved as the rate of murders declined and prosecutors won important recent convictions.

Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivorian editor abruptly jailed in libel case

New York, March 20, 2009--Ivorian authorities on Thursday abruptly jailed a journalist who was scheduled to appear in court next week on libel charges related to a column critical of the government, according to local journalists and press reports. The imprisonment appeared to violate the 2004 Ivorian press law, which decriminalized press offenses and banned pretrial detention of journalists.

March 20, 2009 4:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi

Former CPJ award winner acquitted in Burundi

(Jean Pierre Harerimana)The staff at CPJ was relieved to hear that former CPJ Press Freedom Award winner Alexis Sinduhije was released from prison today. The former radio station director and veteran Burundian journalist was acquitted by a Bujumbura court after serving four months of a two and a half year jail sentence for "insulting the president." A three-judge panel acquitted Sindhujie on Wednesday after ruling that the charges against him were unsubstantiated. 
March 12, 2009 1:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Madagascar

Madagascar media outlets raided during political crisis

New York, March 10, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Saturday's ransacking of a TV and radio broadcaster by security forces in the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. The raid was part of ongoing government efforts to censor independent media coverage of political unrest, stemming from a bitter power struggle between opposition leader Andry Rajoelina and President Marc Ravalomanana. 

March 10, 2009 4:17 PM ET

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Letters   |   Kenya

CPJ calls for investigation into Kenya murder

Dear Mr. President: We are writing to express our concern over the lack of progress in the police investigation into the brutal murder of journalist Francis Kainda Nyaruri. In January, CPJ urged the police to investigate Nyaruri's murder, whose slashed and decapitated body was found January 29 in Kodere Forest near his hometown of Nyamira.

March 3, 2009 5:42 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burkina Faso

Yahoo France reacts to Burkina Faso e-mail death threats

A week ago today, CPJ sent a letter of concern to President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso urging his government to investigate a series of death threats sent in the past year or so via e-mail to independent journalists there. Using Yahoo France accounts, senders have boasted about intimidating the press in impunity by referencing the still-unsolved 1998 murder of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo

February 24, 2009 5:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Swaziland

Swazi reporter gets apology amid allegations of sexism

This week in the mountain Kingdom of Swaziland, the state-owned daily Swazi Observer reported that an official has apologized for summarily dismissing a female reporter from Parliament nearly two weeks ago. It was the latest in a controversy sparked by allegations of gender discrimination against Mantoe Phakathi, an award-winning journalist with the private monthly The Nation.

February 19, 2009 4:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Zimbabwe

Underground Zimbabwe: Interview with Robyn Kriel

Filmmaker Robyn Kriel, 25, from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, spoke to PBS' Wide Angle last week about the risks she took reporting from Zimbabwe in the lead-up to the country's 2008 presidential election. Last April, CPJ closely followed the case of Kriel's mother, Margaret Kriel, who was imprisoned for four days on accusations of "practicing journalism without accreditation." You can listen to the interview here.

February 18, 2009 10:25 AM ET

Letters   |   Burkina Faso

Journalists receive death threats in Burkina Faso

Dear Mr. President: We are writing to express concern about a series of death threats aimed at independent journalists that have referenced the unsolved murder of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo in 1998. We call on you to ensure that the government thoroughly investigates these threats and protect the well-being of all journalists.

February 17, 2009 5:19 PM ET

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Letters   |   Zimbabwe

CPJ urges Zimbabwe to improve media climate

Dear Prime Minister: The decision to form a unified government in Zimbabwe has created a welcome opportunity to address oppressive government decrees and media laws that have long stifled press freedom. Your party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has long made freedom of the press a central policy and you have repeatedly stated your aspirations to privatize the state-controlled media.

February 13, 2009 4:28 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Preface

By Carl Bernstein

When the Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981, the prevailing threats to freedom of the press around the world were still from juntas, dictators, authoritarian regimes, and social systems determined to dominate the media as a means of maintaining control over citizens, usually within the boundaries of the nation-state. Toward that end, newspapers and television were nationalized or controlled by party organs, strict censorship prevailed, and officially sanctioned news was delivered expeditiously.

February 10, 2009 12:59 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Introduction

By Joel Simon

In 2008, the numbers of journalists killed and jailed both dropped for the first time since the war on terror was launched in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. This is welcome news, but it is tempered by harsh realities. The war on terror had a devastating effect on journalists, and the trends will be difficult to reverse. Over seven years, journalists were targeted for murder in record numbers, while deterioration in the international legal environment led to a surge in journalist imprisonments.

Attacks on the Press   |   Cameroon

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Cameroon

Cameroon’s diverse news media, among the most vibrant in Africa, operated under significant pressure. Influential political leaders used threats, regulatory action, and judicial harassment to censor critical coverage of national affairs, including a controversial constitutional amendment allowing President Paul Biya to seek re-election in 2011, public protests over inflation, and a series of high-profile corruption cases.

February 10, 2009 12:43 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Two years after transitioning to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the most perilous countries in Africa for journalists. For the fourth consecutive year, a journalist was murdered in unclear circumstances, this time in the unstable, strife-torn east of the country.

February 10, 2009 12:39 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Ethiopia

The small vanguard of independent media that emerged from a brutal 2005 crackdown struggled in the face of continuing government harassment. Although authorities issued licenses allowing a handful of independent political newspapers to operate, they continued to use imprisonment, threats, and legal and administrative restrictions to suppress coverage of sensitive issues.

February 10, 2009 12:36 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Kenya

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Kenya

Bracketed by profound attacks on the press, a tumultuous 2008 threatened the country’s standing as a regional leader in free expression. A repressive media bill sailed through parliament in December and was signed into law by President Mwai Kibaki as 2009 began. Enacted over the protests of local and international media groups, the measure provides the government with sweeping censorship powers. The information minister and a newly established communication commission were given broad authority to regulate broadcast content and scheduling. The law retains provisions allowing the internal security minister to raid media houses and confiscate equipment in the name of national security.

February 10, 2009 12:27 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Niger

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Niger

With a simmering insurgency in the north, a split within the ruling government, and talk of a constitutional amendment to allow President Mamadou Tandja to run for a third term in 2009, authorities increasingly tightened restrictions on the press. The high-profile imprisonment of Moussa Kaka, a reporter well known for his coverage of the insurgency, illustrated tensions between the government and the press.

February 10, 2009 12:20 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Rwanda

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Rwanda

On paper, Rwanda had more private newspapers and radio stations than at any point in its history. In practice, independent news coverage was minimal due to business woes and government intimidation. One critical editor was forced to flee the country, and a second was deported. Legislation pending in late year would stiffen accreditation requirements and force journalists to reveal sources in court.

February 10, 2009 12:16 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Senegal

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Senegal

Conditions deteriorated in Senegal, once considered a haven for press freedom. With contemptuous rhetoric, threats, physical violence, and criminal prosecutions, supporters of President Abdoulaye Wade and members of his government retaliated against critical journalists. The June 21 beating of two sports journalists covering a World Cup qualifying match in Dakar symbolized the tensions and ignited a contentious national debate over press freedom.

February 10, 2009 12:15 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Somalia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Somalia

Anarchic violence gripped a nation sadly accustomed to chaos and suffering as a weak federal government sought to fend off insurgencies in the south and central parts of the country. Two reporters were killed in the southern port city of Kismayo in 2008, continuing a national pattern of violence against the press that has claimed the lives of nine journalists in two years. At least 21 Somali reporters have gone into exile, according to CPJ data, although the National Union of Somali Journalists estimates that dozens more have fled their homes in fear of reprisals. The risks grew deeper still in 2008 with two kidnappings involving five journalists, three of whom were still being held for ransom in late year.

Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uganda

Government security forces intimidated and harassed critical journalists, particularly political commentators on the country’s many popular radio talk shows. Criminal defamation and sedition laws were the main weapons in the government’s legal attacks on the press, although a case pending before the Supreme Court held some promise that the laws might be declared unconstitutional.

February 10, 2009 12:07 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, startled by balloting that threatened their 28-year rule, unleashed a brutal crackdown on opposition supporters and the press. Veteran journalist Geoff Hill described the weeks between the first round of voting in March and a runoff in June as “the worst time for journalists in Zimbabwe’s history,” a view expressed by numerous foreign and local reporters.

February 10, 2009 12:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Republic of Congo

After mysterious fire, online columnist dead in Congo

Credit: MwindaNew York, February 6, 2009--An online columnist known for criticizing the government and alleging high-level corruption was buried in the Republic of Congo today following his death in a military hospital on Monday, according to local journalists. Bruno Ossébi, left, was badly burned in a late-night fire at his residence on January 21, although he was said to be recovering and his death was unexpected. Authorities have not provided any information on the cause and circumstances of the fire, which coincided with a similar fire at the French home of an exiled political dissident. 
February 6, 2009 5:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Remembering Said Tahlil

GaroweFalastiin Iman, a former producer for the independent Somali broadcaster HornAfrik, was talking by phone on Sunday with the station's director, Said Tahlil, left. He was upbeat, she said, a mood that is not easy to come by in Mogadishu. "He was so happy that peace was finally coming to Somalia and that, miraculously, HornAfrik TV and Radio was still able to operate and report throughout all the crises." 
February 5, 2009 2:29 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Eritrea

Long held in secret Eritrean jail, Isaac reported in hospital

New York, February 5, 2009--Eritrean authorities must disclose the medical condition and care being provided to jailed journalist Dawit Isaac, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today following unofficial reports saying that he was hospitalized. CPJ points out that the well-being of the long-jailed Isaac, an Eritrean with Swedish citizenship, is the responsibility of the government, which has yet to provide any information as to his whereabouts, health, or medical care.

February 5, 2009 12:52 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Another murder in Somalia as HornAfrik director is killed

New York, February 4, 2009--The director of HornAfrik, one of Somalia's leading radio and television stations, was killed by three masked gunmen in the Bakara Market area of Mogadishu on Tuesday afternoon, local journalists told CPJ. The assailants shot Said Tahlil repeatedly as he and six other senior journalists were walking to a meeting with members of the militant Al-Shabaab group. 

February 4, 2009 4:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Zimbabwe

How diamond rings silence Zimbabwe's foreign press

The Hong Kong police announced on Monday they would investigate the alleged assault on photographer Richard Jones by Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace Mugabe, while she was on vacation. On January 15, Jones claimed Mugabe ordered her bodyguard to hold the photographer down while she punched him repeatedly in the face near Hong Kong's exclusive Shangri-la Hotel, according to wire reports. 

January 21, 2009 5:38 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Letter from Mogadishu: Working where violence is normal

On Friday, as we welcomed the release of a journalist kidnapped in Somalia, we received a compelling account from a freelance reporter working in the capital, Mogadishu. Our colleague describes the perils of working in a city where journalists operate at the mercy of warring insurgents and government troops, and throughout Somalia, one of the world's most dangerous nations for the press. 

January 20, 2009 4:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya, USA

In Kenya, a flawed U.S. comparison to bolster a faulty law

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki says he will reconsider the deeply flawed communications legislation that he signed into law at the beginning of the year. Kibaki said he would direct the Information Ministry and attorney general to consider the concerns of Kenya's media and present them to the cabinet for possible legislative revision. CPJ and other press freedom advocates have pointed out that the Communications Amendment Act significantly curtails press freedom.

January 15, 2009 1:33 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uganda

Ugandan reporters under police harassment

New York, January 7, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the ongoing police persecution of two Ugandan journalists. The police's Media Offences Department has repeatedly interrogated the two over a story critical of the government's handling of an international security operation against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army last month, according to a local lawyer and journalists.

January 7, 2009 5:52 PM ET

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Case   |   Somalia

In Puntland, kidnappers free two journalists

January 4, 2009

Colin Freeman, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Telegraph
José Cendon, freelance

ABDUCTED

Freeman, a British foreign correspondent for London's Sunday Telegraph, and Cendon, a Spanish freelance photojournalist, were released January 4 after four weeks in captivity, according to multiple reports. 

January 6, 2009 11:50 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Witnesses say government soldier killed Somali reporter

New York, January 2, 2009--A government soldier killed Radio Shabelle reporter Hassan Mayow Hassan, shooting the veteran journalist twice in the head after stopping him in the Somali town of Afgoye on Thursday morning, three local journalists told the Committee to Protect Journalists today. The journalists said they had interviewed witnesses to the killing. 

January 2, 2009 4:01 PM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Multimedia, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia

Video: Slain and in combat, dozens die in 2008

CPJ’s Joel Simon, Robert Mahoney, and Nina Ognianova pay tribute to journalists who died in 2008. The toll was highest in Iraq, but conflicts in South Asia and the Caucasus were deadly as well. Impunity in journalist murders in Russia, Philippines, and Mexico were top issues.

January 2, 2009 9:26 AM ET

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Statements   |   Somalia

Somali radio broadcaster killed

We issued the following statement in response to the killing of Somali reporter Hassan Mayow Hassan, who was shot dead today in Afgoye, a town 18 miles (30 km) south of the capital Mogadishu. Hassan, a veteran correspondent for Radio Shabelle, was killed by unidentified gunmen while covering a conflict between two militia groups, according to local reports...

January 1, 2009 6:12 PM ET

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