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
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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.
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
A basement in the
gray, Gothic heart of the
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has written a response to a recent CPJ protest letter. While we welcome his attention to the issues we raised about press freedom last month, we note with great concern the president’s comments about the ongoing criminal case of two journalists assaulted by police in 2008.
New York, October 15, 2009—The editor-in-chief of
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,
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.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I left
New York, September 24, 2009—A newspaper editor in police custody in Niger since Sunday was charged with criminal libel on Wednesday in connection with a story accusing a top official of involvement in a corruption scandal, according to local journalists and news reports.
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.
Dear Prime Minister: We are writing to express our concern over the lack of progress in the case of murdered Kenyan journalist Francis Nyaruri. The journalist was found decapitated, with evidence of torture to his body, on January 29 in Kodera Forest near his hometown of Nyamira.
Dear Secretary Clinton: In light of your recent advocacy on behalf of Congolese women during your visit to Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, we are writing to bring to your attention our deep concerns about the safety of three reporters covering women’s issues in Bukavu, south of Goma.
New York, September 11, 2009--The government-run Uganda Broadcasting Council effectively shut down four radio stations today and Thursday, and ordered all radio stations to halt political debate programming in the wake of violent clashes in the capital, Kampala.
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.
New York, September 3, 2009--Five journalists and a TV station covering
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.
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.
New York, August 28, 2009--A Ugandan newspaper's critical caricature of President Yoweri Museveni led police to interrogate three journalists today on allegations of sedition, according to a defense attorney and local journalists.
New York, August 26, 2009--Two Ethiopian journalists were thrown in prison on Monday after a judge convicted them under an obsolete press law in connection with coverage of sensitive topics dating back several years, according to local journalists and news reports.
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
President Yoweri Museveni of
New York, August 18, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalist is concerned Kenyan police are attempting to intimidate journalists at the private daily, The Star, to reveal their sources for a June 20 article that said the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit had lost crucial files about an accused al-Qaeda member.
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
Like many radio listeners in
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.
New York, July 30, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today in the Democratic Republic of Congo to lift a ban on the FM broadcasts of Radio France Internationale (RFI) across the Central African country. The government silenced the station in response to its coverage of the ongoing conflict in the east, RFI said.
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.
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 marks the start
of seal hunting season in
New York, July 15, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrest of Zambian journalist Chansa Kabwela on bogus charges of circulating obscene materials.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
New York, June 22, 2009--Seven Gambian journalists charged with sedition last week for criticizing the president have been freed on bail, while two other detainees were released without charge, local journalists and the press union told CPJ today.
My intention to remain in my home country, to use my pen to correct injustice, and to champion press freedom was aborted by security threats that forced me and my family into exile. I left behind my beloved country and editorial desk in the hands of perpetrators.
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
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.
Lankan journalists flee under severe pressure in the past year.
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.
New York, June 11, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the Canadian and Australian governments to work for the immediate release of two freelance journalists who have been held captive in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, since August.
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.
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
New York, June 8, 2009--Following the attack by unidentified gunmen on two staff members of Radio Shabelle on Sunday that left one dead and one injured, the Committee to Protect Journalists called today for all sides in the ongoing conflict to allow journalists to carry out their work without fear of retribution.
Last week, President Isaias
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.
New York, May 27, 2009--A magistrate in
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
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.
New York, May 22, 2009--The Committee to Protect
Journalists mourns this morning's death of radio journalist Abdirisak Mohamed Warsame, left, who was killed during renewed fighting in
On May 7, 2009, the Court of Criminal Appeal in
New York, May 19, 2009--Authorities in Malawi should immediately release three journalists arrested today in a police raid on an opposition radio station, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. The country is holding general elections between today and Thursday.
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.
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,
CPJ names the worst online oppressors. Booming online cultures in many Asian and Middle Eastern nations
have led to aggressive government repression.
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.
Bruno Jacquet Ossébi, a Franco-Congolese journalist known for outspoken coverage of government corruption in the
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,
Eyewitnesses saw him being led away. "We were in our
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."
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.
Testifying at the
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
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.
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.
New York, March 18, 2009--A Burundian online journalist jailed since last September was acquitted today, according to local journalists. In a separate case on Tuesday, however, authorities detained two journalists covering the activities of a former CPJ Press Freedom Award winner, according to the same sources.
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.
In a ruling issued on January 9, 2009, the state-run media regulator, the High Communication Council, suspended from circulation the private daily Le Citoyen for one month for allegedly violating journalism ethics, according to news reports and local journalists.
An appeals court in the Senegalese capital of
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
This week in the
We received good news this morning from
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.
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.
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.
New York, February 9, 2009--Authorities in the Indian
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.
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.
Freelance journalist Frank Chikowore visited CPJ this week
after receiving the Tully Center Free Speech Award
The Hong Kong police announced on Monday they would
investigate the alleged assault on photographer Richard Jones by
On Friday, as we welcomed the
release of a journalist kidnapped in
New York, January 16, 2009--CPJ welcomes the release of a freelance Somali photojournalist and two Somali drivers on Thursday but remains deeply concerned for the fate of two foreign freelance reporters who have been held since their abduction on August 23, 2008, by unknown gunmen.
New York, January 16, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the health of a Zimbabwean photojournalist who was denied bail today despite allegations that he was tortured while in police detention in the capital Harare.
Dear President Biya: We are writing to express our alarm that four newspaper editors have been jailed in Cameroon for their work since September--making your country the second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, according to our research.
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
New York, January 9, 2009--Zimbabwean photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere, who was arrested on December 24, was remanded in custody today by a court in Harare despite allegations that he was tortured while in police detention, according to local journalists. Manyere is expected to return to court on January 23.
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.
Colin Freeman, Sunday
Telegraph, Daily Telegraph
José Cendon, freelance
Colin Freeman, Sunday
Telegraph, Daily Telegraph
ABDUCTEDFreeman, a British foreign correspondent for
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.
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.
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