Africa

2010


Alerts   |   Kenya

Kenyan journalist receives threats for investigating murder

New York, December 22, 2010--A Kenyan journalist whose reporting has helped expose and publicize the unsolved 2009 murder of reporter Francis Nyaruri received two anonymous threatening phone calls on Friday warning he could "share Nyaruri's fate," according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities to thoroughly investigate the threats and provide Sam Owida, a reporter for the private daily Nation, with protection.

December 22, 2010 3:19 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi

The good times are gone for Burundi's press

'The media is now considered part of the opposition,' a civil society leader told CPJ. Seen here is 'opposition' station Radio Publique Africaine, in Bujumbura. (CPJ)After 2006, Burundi's government and media relations seemed promising. The airwaves had been open to private broadcasters for years; the president held frequent press conferences, and the government commended the unified press for its professional 2010 pre-election coverage. "The president had organized an open dialogue with the press before the elections," Information Minister Concilie Nibigira told CPJ. "It is the only country I know who would hold regular meetings with the media." 

Blog   |   Gambia

Deyda Hydara, a friend and colleague murdered in impunity

Deyda Hydara TrustI can still vividly recall how the news of Deyda Hydara's killing was relayed to me on the morning of December 17, 2004, after I returned from a trip to Zambia the previous night. Very early that morning, I called his childhood friend and partner at The Point, Pap Saine, who told me: "They shot him dead last night." I had to pinch myself to realize that I was not actually dreaming.

December 20, 2010 2:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus, Brazil, Greece, Internet, Iraq, Pakistan, Rwanda

Six stories: Online journalists killed in 2010

Greek blogger Giolias (AP)

This week, CPJ published its year-end analysis of work-related fatalities among journalists. Six of the 42 victims worked online. While you can read the full statistics and our special report elsewhere, I want to highlight the stories of these six journalists who worked on the Web.

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, Thailand, Yemen

As bombings spread, Pakistan deadliest nation

At least 42 journalists are killed in 2010 as two trends emerge. Suicide attacks and violent street protests cause an unusually high proportion of deaths. And online journalists are increasingly prominent among the victims. A CPJ special report

A December suicide attack in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal district claimed the lives of two journalists. (Reuters/Umar Qayyum)

Blog   |   Burkina Faso

In Norbert Zongo case, 12 years of impunity

A poster for this week's commemoration.

For Geneviève Zongo, every December 13 revives excruciating memories of the loss of her husband Norbert Zongo, editor of the weekly L'Indépendant. He was assassinated in 1998 while investigating the murder of a driver working at Burkina Faso's presidential palace. More painful still is that the killers who ambushed Zongo's car, riddling it with bullets and torching it, have never been brought to justice.

December 14, 2010 4:15 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi

Mission Journal: Behind bars in Burundi

Kavumbagu (AFP)

"They like me in here," editor Jean-Claude Kavumbagu said of his fellow prisoners. But sub-Saharan Africa's only jailed online journalist still pays protection money to stay safe in Bujumbura's Mpimba Prison.

The Net Press editor has been here since police arrested him on July 17. He was charged with treason over an article that questioned the competence of Burundi's security services.

December 13, 2010 2:15 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Burundi

CPJ meets jailed Burundian journalist, calls for his release

Burundi Tribune
Bujumbura, December 9, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for the release of journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu after visiting him in prison in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. CPJ made the call at a press conference marking the end of a four-day mission to Burundi.

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney and East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes met with Kavumbagu, at left, editor of the French-language news site Net Press, at Mpimba Prison on Wednesday for more than an hour. 
December 9, 2010 1:35 PM ET

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Reports   |   Multimedia, Sri Lanka

Video: Shining Light on a Dark Prison Cell



In this video companion to CPJ's 2010 census of imprisoned journalists, Sri Lankan columnist J.S. Tissainayagam describes his own time in prison and how international advocacy can make a difference in winning the freedom of jailed reporters, editors, photojournalists, and bloggers. (4:09)

Read the special report "Iran, China drive prison tally to 14-year high" and view our database of journalists in prison.

December 8, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt, Ethiopia, Internet

Facebook gets caught up in Egypt's media crackdown

As CPJ has previously documented, journalists in Egypt have faced a deterioration in press freedom in the run-up to the parliamentary vote on Sunday. Editors have been fired, TV shows suspended, and regulations over SMS texting suddenly tightened. In the final few days, a new forum found itself caught up in this attempt to control the media message--the social networking site Facebook.

December 1, 2010 10:19 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela

Journalists on the frontlines of press freedom honored

CPJ board member Kati Marton presents a 2010 International Press Freedom Award to Nadira Isayeva. (Getty/Michael Nagle)
New York, November 24, 2010--Outstanding journalists at the forefront of the battle for press freedom in Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela were honored Tuesday evening at the Committee to Protect Journalists' 20th Annual International Press Freedom Awards benefit dinner.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela

CPJ Press Freedom Awardee: 'I always wanted answers'

Left to right: Nadira Isayeva, Dawit Kebede, and Laureano Márquez in Washington. (CPJ/Rodney Lamkey Jr.)

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for everyone at CPJ as we've been preparing for the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards. Today's press conference in Washington will be followed by a series of events culminating in our awards ceremony Tuesday in New York. As always, the awardees make it special. 

Alerts   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe detains reporter on criminal defamation charges

New York, November, 18, 2010--Reporter Nqobani Ndlovu remained in police custody today despite expectations that he would appear in court on criminal defamation charges, local journalists told CPJ. Police in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, arrested Ndlovu, a reporter for the private weekly Standard, on Wednesday and charged him with criminal defamation in relation to an article concerning the cancellation of police promotion examinations, according to local journalists. 
November 18, 2010 3:06 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia, USA

In exile in the U.S., Ethiopian journalist struggles forward

After almost a year in exile in America, an icy ocean away from his home in Ethiopia, journalist Samson Mekonnen, left, only recently received his work permit in Washington. In the interim, like most journalists undergoing the emotionally and financially grueling resettlement process, he has relied on friends, family, and international organizations like CPJ to support himself and his family while his petition for asylum navigates the bureaucratic waters.  

November 12, 2010 2:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

That Nobel invite? Mr. Malware sent it

The Nobel Committee, as it turns out, didn't invite the author. A Nobel is going to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. (Reuters/Kin Cheung)This weekend, staff at CPJ received a personal invitation to attend the Oslo awards ceremony for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. The invite, curiously, was in the form of an Adobe PDF document. We didn't accept. We didn't even open the e-mail. We did, however, begin analyzing the document to see was really inside that attachment, and what it was planning to do to our staff's computers.

November 10, 2010 9:16 AM ET

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Blog   |   Journalist Assistance, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Russia, Uganda

Help journalists in need: An appeal

Beketov must be transported to trial in an ambulance while his attackers walk free. (Foundation in Support of Mikhail Beketov)

Mikhail Beketov is lucky to be alive, although I'm sure there are days when he doesn't think so. On November 13, 2008, the environmental reporter who campaigned against a highway that would have destroyed a forest in Khimki, a town outside Moscow, was beaten nearly to death by men with metal bars. The attackers made a special effort to destroy his hands and left him to die in the November cold. He would have if neighbors had not noticed him and called the police 24 hours after the attack.

Alerts   |   Somalia

CPJ welcomes release of Puntland journalist

Jama with his two sons. (Horseed Media)

New York, November 8, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the presidential pardon and release today of radio journalist Abdifatah Jama, who was imprisoned in August for airing an interview with an Islamist rebel leader in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. CPJ had repeatedly called for his release.

Jama, deputy director of Horseed Media, had begun serving a six-year prison sentence after being convicted on treason charges in a closed-door trial. Jama had appealed the ruling, which was based on his authorization of an interview with Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom, who has waged a guerrilla war against the Puntland administration since 2005. 

November 8, 2010 6:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Uganda lifts ban on CBS, staff celebrates with caution

Full, normal broadcasting of the Ugandan Central Broadcasting Service (CBS)--owned by Uganda's powerful traditional Buganda kingdom--resumed Monday after nearly 14 months of silence. While CBS staff welcomed their return to work, many recounted a tough year and questioned the nature of the station's re-opening. 

November 2, 2010 11:26 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Malawi

Malawi government bans weekly tabloid

New York, November 1, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a government ban on the publication of Malawian weekly tabloid The Weekend Times today. In a letter dated October 28, the National Archives of Malawi issued an immediate suspension of The Weekend Times on charges of failing to register the paper, according to news reports.

November 1, 2010 5:22 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

South Africans end week of "secrecy bill" protests

Protesters taped their mouths shut to oppose the Protection of Information Bill. (Imke van Heerden)

On Wednesday, just before South African lawmakers were scheduled to debate amendments to the controversial Protection of Information Bill, thousands of protesters marched to the gates of Parliament in Cape Town to oppose the measure, which they called an "apartheid-style secrecy bill." The marchers represented a broad coalition of media, academia, trade unions and civil society groups.

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenyan journalist's murder case postponed again

Francis Nyaruri was murdered in 2009. (CPJ/Courtesy Josephine Kwamboka)

Kenyan journalist Francis Nyaruri went missing on January 16, 2009 after writing a series of articles for The Weekly Citizen about corruption and malpractice by local police and civil servants. Thirteen days later, his bound and decapitated body was found near his hometown of Nyamira, northwest of the capital city of Nairobi. Twenty-two months after the murder, the outcome of his bereaved family and friends' quest for justice appears uncertain.

October 29, 2010 2:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   Tanzania

Government threatens press in pre-election Tanzania

Incumbent Tanzanian President Jakaya Kiketwe during rally in September. (AP)

As the October 31 national elections draw near, Tanzania's media is in a frenzy trying to cover the close race between the two leading presidential candidates. But government threats and draconian media laws may be getting in the way of objective coverage.

Blog   |   Internet

Protecting journalists from Firesheep

Wifi users at a McDonald's in Manhattan. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

There's been a great deal of coverage in the last day or so of Firesheep, a plugin for Firefox that lets you take over the Facebook and Twitter accounts of others on your local network. If you use Firesheep, you can pick one of the people on, say, the same open wireless at your nearby cafe, and then easily view, delete, and add comments using their name on these sites.

October 26, 2010 9:34 AM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

In South Africa, echoes of Black Wednesday

South African journalists protest media restrictions on the nation's annual Day of Media Freedom. (Independent Newspapers Cape)

On October 19, 1977, South Africa's government banned The World newspaper, along with Weekend World, the paper's weekly magazine, and Pro Veritate, a Christian publication. Authorities also detained scores of activists and outlawed 17 anti-apartheid groups during the one-day crackdown, which came to be known as Black Wednesday.

Alerts   |   Swaziland

Swaziland prime minister threatens to censor columnists

New York, October 22, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a recent statement from Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, announcing his intention to create a law requiring newspaper columnists to seek permission before they write critically about the government.

Blog   |   South Africa

South Africa weighs dropping media tribunal plan

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe addresses reporters. (AFP)

For the first time in South Africa's months-long debate over the proposal for a government-run media appeals tribunal, a top official from the African National Congress (ANC) indicated on Friday that the plan could be dropped altogether--under certain conditions.

Blog   |   CPJ, Equatorial Guinea

Obiang prize suspended indefinitely

The Obiang prize, named for and funded by one of Africa's most notorious dictators, was a very poor idea from the start and our goal, bluntly, was to kill it. We didn't quite succeed in getting an outright cancellation, but the prize, while technically alive, is in a deep coma with virtually no chance of recovery. How the prize came to a halt is detailed in a press release available on the website of the Open Society Institute's Justice Initiative, but here's the story in a nutshell.

October 21, 2010 12:55 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Attackers lob grenade at Puntland radio station

A grenade blew through the roof of Horseed FM's office in Bossasso. (Horseed FM)

New York, October 19, 2010--A pair of assailants lobbed a grenade Monday evening at Horseed FM, a private radio station broadcasting from the port city of Bossasso, the economic capital of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, according to local reports. After the grenade exploded, one of the attackers began shooting at an adjacent café, Horseed Managing Director Mahad M. Ahmed told CPJ.

Blog   |   Rwanda

Censored in Rwanda, editors work from exile

The editors of Rwanda's once-leading newspaper now publish from exile. (CPJ)
Though it has been a dark year for Rwanda's press, it has also been a year of resistance and turning to a new sort of reporting--from exile.

Ever since Rwandan authorities began cracking down on the nation's independent press before the presidential elections in August, the space for critical reporting has been dissipating.

Blog   |   Gabon

In Gabon, censorship lingers from 2009 vote

Gabonese journalists at Radio TV Top Bendje, whose transmitters were disconnected during the 2009 elections. (Radio TV Top Bendje)

In Gabon, more than a year after the historic and contested presidential elections won by Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba, the main radio and television stations of Ondimba's two main opponents still face administrative obstructions imposed during the polls, according to interviews CPJ conducted with journalists and officials between July and September.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Somaliland obstructs UK satellite station

New York, October 7, 2010--Authorities in Somaliland should immediately lift a suspension order imposed against the UK-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The order bars the station's correspondents from reporting in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia, Khadar Mahamed, Universal TV senior newscaster and producer, told CPJ.

October 8, 2010 4:38 PM ET

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Blog   |   Nigeria

Abuja Twitterers chronicle #Nigeriaat50 bomb explosions

Nigerian police officer stands at scen of an exploded car bomb at Eagle Square in Abuja. (AP)

A few minutes before deadly explosions ripped through Nigeria's 50th Independence Day celebration in Abuja on Saturday, Twitter user Achonu Stanley wondered about darkening skies over the festivities: "Would the day be marred by rain? It has become cloudy and dark. Sorry for the thousands of people at Eagle Square."

October 5, 2010 4:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Ugandan station still closed, an ill omen for election

Former CBS journalists Ndiwalana Kiwanuka, left, Richard Wasswa and Joesph Kafumbe. (CPJ)

More than a year has passed since the government-influenced Broadcasting Council summarily closed the popular Central Broadcasting Service, or CBS. The council closed the station in September 2009 as riots were erupting in response to the government's decision to block the traditional Buganda king from attending a youth celebration north of the capital, Kampala. Its continued closure bodes ill for independent news coverage of February's presidential election.

Blog   |   Gambia, Security, USA

Jammeh 'award' coverage reflects chill in Gambian press

Jammeh may be a Nebraska "admiral," but he was not commended by Obama. (Reuters)

"President Jammeh bags 4 awards," trumpeted a September 17 headline of the Daily Observer, a pro-government newspaper in the Gambia, a West African nation whose idyllic façade as "the smiling coast of Africa" is maintained in part by President Yahyah Jammeh's brutal repression of the independent press. 

September 24, 2010 3:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Nigeria, South Africa

With media plan, ANC copies Nigeria's military rulers

Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, left, South Africa's Jacob Zuma, and Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan at this summer's African Union Summit in Kampala. (AFP/Marc Hofer)

While South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) discusses the party's proposal for a media appeals tribunal, delegates should take note of a landmark ruling in Nigeria this year in which a High Court judge declared a government-dominated press council unconstitutional. 

September 24, 2010 10:21 AM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia, South Africa

Somali journalist lives under threat, in fear in South Africa

Dasar (Clifford Derrick)

Violence has cut through the life of 28-year-old journalist Abdulahi Ibrahim Dasar, from his high school days in Kismayo, the third-largest city in Somalia, to his life as a refugee in South Africa. The turbulence of Dasar's life also explains his entry into journalism, a profession that has made him a target of assassination by hard-line Somali militants. 

Back in 2001 in Kismayo, Dasar had ambitious plans to become an entrepreneur, but bloodshed from local clan warfare forced his family to seek refuge in South Africa. In the peaceful suburbs of Cape Town, the familiar sound of bullets was gone at last. Very little knowledge of English and difficulty clicking the South African isiXhosa language spoken by the people of the Western Cape did not stop him from venturing into small-scale kiosk work selling groceries.

September 22, 2010 10:10 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Uganda

Second journalist killed in three days in Uganda

New Vision

New York, September 15, 2010--Unidentified assailants beat and killed news presenter Dickson Ssentongo Monday morning on his way to work at Prime Radio in Mukono district, central Uganda. Assailants beat Ssentongo with metal bars and dragged him into a nearby cassava field, local journalists told CPJ. He was the second journalist murdered in three days in Uganda.

September 15, 2010 5:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Botswana, South Africa

Why South Africa's media fight matters to Botswana

President Khama has not been a friend to the media. (Reuters)

For Batswana journalists, news that their South African colleagues are busy warding off a proposed statutory media tribunal from the ruling African National Congress sounds all too familiar. For more than a decade, the government of Botswana has been trying to push a media law that would effectively shift the whole media under state control.

This was eventually achieved as in December 2008, the Media Practitioners Act came to being after being pushed through parliament by the dominant ruling Botswana Democratic party. The implementation of the act has however been frustrated by fierce advocacy by Botswana media groups, with the key assistance of the Law Society of Botswana, which also refused to participate in the implementation as required.

September 15, 2010 11:08 AM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya, Somalia

'A Somali journalist's life is short anyways'

A journalist films an insurgent in Somalia. (Mohammed Ibrahim)

In August, Shabelle Media Network, one of Somalia's leading independent broadcasters, did something incredibly brave--they rebroadcast news and music that the BBC's Somali-language service beams to the war-torn Horn of African nation in defiance of a ban imposed by hard-line militant Islamist rebel groups Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam. For Somali journalists, who risk death by crossfire and assassination, and censorship from both insurgents and the weak U.S.-backed transitional government, it was a courageous pushback against forces hostile to independent media.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Iraq, Pakistan

Murder, 'suicide,' crossfire: A week of journalist killings

Today we will report another murder of a journalist. This one was in Argentina. The last one we documented was a couple days ago--Alberto Graves Chakussanga was shot in the back in Angola. These tragedies are part of our daily work at CPJ, but this week was different. There have been eight killings of journalists around the globe since September 3, an unusually high number during my three years as an editor here.
September 10, 2010 12:56 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Angola

Angolan radio presenter gunned down

New York, September 8, 2010--Following Sunday's murder in Angola of Alberto Graves Chakussanga, a radio journalist with a station critical of the ruling MPLA government, authorities must conduct a thorough and transparent investigation exploring all possible leads and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 
September 8, 2010 5:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mozambique

New media tools bring Mozambican crisis to the world

Police patrol the streets of the capital, Maputo. (Reuters/Grant Lee Neuenburg)

This week's deadly unrest in Mozambique became a global news story in part because reporters and citizen journalists used new media and social networking tools. Clashes between security forces and people protesting rising prices in the capital, Maputo, left at least seven people dead and more than 200 people injured, according to the latest news reports

September 3, 2010 3:06 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

In Puntland, radio journalist fatally stabbed

New York, September 1, 2010--Unknown assailants fatally stabbed radio journalist Abdullahi Omar Gedi in the Galkayo district of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, on Tuesday evening. Gedi, 25, had just left work at Radio Daljir when attackers stabbed him repeatedly and left him unconscious, the station's managing partner, Jama Abshir, told CPJ. Gedi died of his injuries in the General Hospital of Galkayo.

September 1, 2010 4:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

South Africans rally against 'secrecy bill'

The Right2Know campaign opposes the government's secrecy bill. (Ghalib Galant)

Cape Town's St George's Cathedral, a rallying point for civil rights action during apartheid, was the site of the public launch on Tuesday of a mass campaign aimed at stopping a secrecy bill seen as a major threat to South Africans' hard-won freedom.

Alerts   |   Malawi

Malawian president threatens newspaper closings

Mutharika says he will close newspapers that tarnish his government's image. (Reuters)

New York, August 31, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns threatening comments made by President Bingu wa Mutharika against Malawian news outlets last week. Mutharika threatened to close newspapers that report critically about his administration after the private weeklies Malawi News and Weekend Nation cited a regional agency's report forecasting food shortages in the country, local journalists told CPJ.

August 31, 2010 3:15 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Ugandan media celebrates, fights on after sedition ruling

Journalists at the Monitor cheer the court's ruling to strike down sedition. (Monitor)
With surprise and relief, Ugandan journalists, who routinely face the police's "media crimes" unit, welcomed a partial victory for press freedom on Wednesday. The country's constitutional court had ruled that criminal sedition was unconstitutional. Even so, there was a consensus that more legal press battles lie ahead.  

Alerts   |   Somalia

Somali journalist killed in Mogadishu crossfire

SOMEPED New York, August 24, 2010--Veteran radio journalist Barkhat Awale, at left, was killed by crossfire today in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, according to local journalists and news reports. He is the second journalist killed on duty in Somalia this year, according to CPJ research.
    
Awale, 60, director of the community radio station Hurma Radio, was on the roof of the station assisting a technician in fixing the station's transmitter when a stray bullet hit him in the stomach, local journalists told CPJ. His colleagues rushed him to Madina Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
August 24, 2010 4:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya, South Africa

A lesson for South African media: Look to Kenya

Sammy Mbau (CPJ)

The chorus of voices opposing the South African government's proposed Protection of Information Bill and state-backed ombudsman continue to grow. South Africa's Business Day estimates the press produces three articles per day opposing what many journalists see as an attempt by the ruling party to muzzle investigative reporting. More than 30 editors from major papers published protest messages mid-month calling on the government to abandon the planned legislation. But the South African media has yet to coordinate a mass protest comparable to that successfully orchestrated by Kenyan journalists in 2007 against the country's media bill. And President Jacob Zuma, infamous for issuing defamation suits against a critical South African press, may not back down easily in the face of public criticism. 

August 23, 2010 5:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa, Zimbabwe

ANC plans taint Southern Africa's press freedom leader

Presidents Mugabe and Zuma at this month's SADC summit. (EPA)

As heads of state gathered last week at the summit of the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, in Namibia, their discussions were dominated by the progress of Zimbabwe's precarious power-sharing political agreement, which includes pledges to address a repressive media environment. Leading the mediation in the Zimbabwean crisis has been neighboring South Africa, which has been seen as a one-eyed man among the blind in terms of democracy and press freedom in Southern Africa. Yet the moral authority of South African president Jacob Zuma in Zimbabwe's situation is undermined by proposals of his African National Congress-led government to restrict the vibrant press in South Africa.  

Case   |   Ethiopia

Assault, vandalism reported at Awramba Times

On August 17, 2010, two men barged into the offices of the Awramba Times, the independent Amharic-language weekly in the capital, Addis Ababa, and assaulted Moges Tikuye, a security guard, the paper reported. Tikuye suffered minor injuries. Early the next morning, assailants smashed the windows and doors of the office.

August 19, 2010 3:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

In South Africa, a new struggle for press freedom

President Zuma in parliament. (AP/Nic Bothma)

The South African media is facing its fiercest battle yet with the country's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), over the boundaries of freedom of expression in the 16-year-old democracy. On August 8, 37 senior members of the media issued a declaration decrying recent moves on the part of the ANC to potentially restrict the media's ability to report freely. The Auckland Park Declaration was published shortly after a war of words erupted over a media tribunal proposed by the party.

Blog   |   Togo

French officer proves 'allergic' to photos in Togo

 Didier Ledoux snapped this photo minutes before Lt. Colonel Romuald Létondot, seen here, confronted him. (Courtesy Didier Ledoux)
It has been a week since Togolese photojournalist Komi Agbedivlo, better known as "Didier Ledoux," was verbally abused by a military officer from France as he covered a political demonstration in the capital, Lome. The incident might have gone unnoticed, if not for social media and a year charged with historical symbolism for Togo, which is celebrating 50 years of independence from France. So the day, far from going unnoticed, has lived on through the Internet.
August 17, 2010 3:47 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Puntland editor jailed after airing rebel leader interview

New York, August 16, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland to immediately release jailed radio journalist Abdifatah Jama, who was sentenced on Saturday to six years in prison on charges related to an interview with Islamic rebel leader Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom.

August 16, 2010 4:10 PM ET

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Letters   |   South Africa

In South Africa, legislation would restrict press

Dear President Zuma: We are writing to express our concern about legislative proposals that would severely restrict South Africa's independent press corps, which is distinguished for its dynamism and professionalism. We call on you as the head of state and leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to ensure that such proposals are either amended in line with constitutional safeguards for freedom of the press and access to information, or withdrawn altogether in the interest of preserving the transparency, accountability, and democracy gained after apartheid.

Blog   |   Burkina Faso

Africa's path to press freedom goes online

The author

Fifty years ago, development journalism helped to silence dissenting voices: One had to rally to the fathers of the nation for the sake of national unity. Accordingly, the legacy of these 50 years of Francophone media in Africa is freedom of the press and opinion. Journalists prod the elites, who are allergic to criticism, and require that they account for their handling of power and assume responsibility in the face of the various scandals they cause. Recently in Burkina Faso for instance, a government minister had to resign after the print media revealed his extramarital affair with a married woman. This was unthinkable a few years ago. 

August 12, 2010 12:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Swaziland

In Swaziland, local press subdues royal sex scandal coverage

Local papers shied away from explaining the nature of the scandal around the minister.

An alleged sex scandal involving one of the wives of Africa's last absolute monarch, King Mswati III of Swaziland, has made worldwide headlines. Yet, in the southern African mountain kingdom, media coverage has been subdued, shying away from questioning the silence of the monarchy over the reports.

So, while City Press, a newspaper in neighboring South Africa, went as far as publishing an exclusive photo showing the alleged moment when married Swazi Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ndumiso Mamba was caught in a hotel room with the Inkhosikati LaDube, King Mswati's 12th wife, both the government daily and leading independent newspaper Times of Swaziland barely reported that the minister was forced to resign following unspecified "allegations" about him. 

August 11, 2010 4:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gabon

Gabon's press blossoms, faces financial challenges

I will never forget that morning of August 17, 1960, in Port-Gentil when I was awakened with a jolt by the screams: "Long live independence, long live freedom!" Yet Gabon would not see the emergence of an independent and pluralistic press until the democratization process of 1990. 

August 10, 2010 2:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Rwanda

In Rwanda election, no critical domestic press

Kagame at a rally in Nyagatare. (AP/Margaret Cappa)

"No one but you!" supporters of President Paul Kagame have shouted at recent election rallies with many waving the red, white, and blue flags that symbolize the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party, according to local and international reports. But journalists critical of the ruling party could not document firsthand the campaign that ended today because the government systematically shut their news outlets and swept them out of the country in a campaign of intimidation. 

August 9, 2010 4:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mali

Mali's press: The paradox of its two faces

In terms of freedom of expression and democratic and media pluralism, Mali is undeniably today one of the leading countries in francophone Africa. In this year marking the 50th anniversary of Mali's independence, the country's media pool includes 300 private FM radio stations, and about 50 newspapers and periodicals. This incredible blossoming of the Malian press is due to the ease of launching newspapers, the freedom of expression they enjoy, and the liberalization of the airwaves.
August 9, 2010 12:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Republic of Congo, USA

Obama tells Africa forum 'no reason' for press restriction

Obama's Young African Leaders Forum in Washington touched on press freedom. (America.gov)
One out of 10 delegates participating this week in U.S. President Barack Obama's Young African Leaders Forum was a journalist. The forum, a U.S. initiative meant to spark discussions on the future of Africa in a year when 17 countries on the continent are celebrating 50 years of nationhood, did not overlook freedom of the press, as I witnessed in its final event on Thursday at Washington's museum of news, the Newseum.
August 6, 2010 4:22 PM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea, Sweden

Eritrean official says jailed journalists were security threat

Senior Eritrean Advisor Yemani Gebreab told Swedish daily Aftonbladet that the government had decided to “move forward,” leaving imprisoned journalists in the eternal oblivion of indefinite detention.
Since a week after September 11, 2001, when the government of Eritrea threw into secret prisons journalists from its once-vibrant private press, the only certainty it has offered about the fate of the prisoners has been ambiguity. Over the years, officials have offered various explanations for the arrests—from nebulous anti-state conspiracies involving foreign intelligence to press law violations. They have even denied that the journalists themselves ever existed. From the Eritrean president to the public relations officer with the Eritrean Ministry of Information, Eritrean officials have been consistent in their refusal to disclose whether the journalists are alive or dead and their suggestion that the journalists will be held indefinitely without formal charge or trial.
August 6, 2010 12:31 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uganda

Ugandan online editor accused of sedition

Nairobi, August 4, 2010—Police accused the online editor of The Ugandan Record, Timothy Kalyegira, of sedition Tuesday and searched his house today, Kalyegira told the Committee to Protect Journalists. The Media Offences Department commissioner of police, Simon Kuteesa, interrogated Kalyegira about two online articles that speculated as to whether the Ugandan government were involved in the July 11 bomb attacks in Kampala.
August 4, 2010 4:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Senegal

Senegalese press growing against all odds

The author interviewing Danny Glover in the 1970s. (Courtesy Djib Diedhiou)Fifty years after independence, the profession of journalism seems to have retained its prestige with the general public in Senegal. The Senegalese press is considered one of the most vibrant in Francophone Africa. It benefits from the country’s extensive democratic experience and the existence of a journalism school with a good reputation. Yet, because of the relatively unfavorable economic environment and many vicissitudes, its rise comes close to being a daily miracle.
August 4, 2010 12:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Chad

Chad’s vibrant press shook off chains of the state

The author (Courtesy Kaya-Whorr)

When Chad proclaimed independence on August 11, 1960, I was still attending primary school and had never heard of journalism. I listened only to music on the radio. But there was euphoria everywhere in Sarh, south of Chad where I lived, and we sang and danced to the frenzied rhythm of “independence tcha tcha tcha” by Congolese musician Joseph Kabassélé, aka Kallé. 

August 2, 2010 11:19 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, old struggles give way to new challenges

The author, far left, interviewing Brazilian soccer players in 1975. (Courtesy Eugène Dié Kacou) Independence came when I was attending school at the orientation college in Abidjan-Plateau, and when I was still sneaking to listen to the news on my father’s Grundig radio set. Today, I believe that genuine freedom of the press exists in our African countries. In Ivory Coast, for example, the new press law abolished prison sentence for press offenses. 

July 30, 2010 10:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ivory Coast

No Wikileaks, but cocoa piece typifies fight over leaks

Protesters seek release of three Ivorian editors jailed in a leaked document case. (AFP/Sia Kambou)

WikiLeaks’ publication of tens of thousands of pages of confidential U.S. military documents on the Afghanistan war has drawn a lot of attention, perhaps overshadowing the many, more common cases around the world in which journalists publish stories based on leaked documents. This week, for instance, three journalists in Ivory Coast were found guilty of disclosing confidential judicial information after they published a story that shook the political establishment in this West African nation.

Alerts   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese journalist under arrest; stations forced off air

New York, July 28, 2010—Authorities arrested a journalist on Tuesday on criminal defamation charges in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hours earlier, in an unrelated incident, armed men briefly forced the city’s three main opposition broadcasters off the air, according to local journalists and news reports.

Blog   |   Uganda

From 9/11 to 7/11, balancing security, liberty

Museveni at the African Union summit. (AP/Stephen Wandera)

Ugandan President Museveni urged his peers at this week's African Union summit to unite in the battle against terrorism in the aftermath of the terrible 7/11 bombings in Kampala. Security measures pursued by Ugandan authorities after the twin bombings, however, have left some Ugandans and other East African residents wary. East African journalists were among those detained by Ugandan security forces following the bombing. Uganda’s parliament, meanwhile, quickly passed a telephone surveillance bill.

July 27, 2010 1:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Togo

Togo’s press suffers malaise 50 years after independence

The author in the studios of TVT in 1976. (TVT)

In the year marking the 50th anniversary of Togo’s independence, the Togolese press is suffering from an obvious malaise—a malaise perceived by the informed citizen and not by communications professionals themselves. This malaise transpires in the daily practice of journalism through the lack of professionalism. If elsewhere the media is stifled under the heel of power, in Togo, the state, in its “complicit neutrality,” watches the press drift below minimum journalistic ethics where the crosschecking of information before its dissemination is wanting. 

July 23, 2010 2:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

On Gambia’s Freedom Day, CPJ joins call for human rights

Thursday was Freedom Day in the Gambia, an annual holiday unique to the West African nation marking President Yahyah Jammeh’s seizure of power in a 1994 coup. As the president used the occasion to declare a crusade against drugs and corruption, his rhetoric was undercut by the repression of the independent press under his administration.
July 23, 2010 2:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burkina Faso

A springtime for Burkina Faso’s press

The author, at left, is holding the mike for Upper Volta President Maurice Yaméogo in 1963. (Courtesy Roger Nikièma)

I will continue to relive for a long time August 5, 1960, the day Upper Volta, as Burkina Faso was then known, proclaimed independence from France! As a presenter of the newly founded national radio network, I was on the air, which was open to listeners all night. Some listeners, with tears of joy on their faces would enter the studio singing or reciting epic poems! As much as I loved the radio days of my debut in journalism, I have mixed feelings about the first decades following Independence.

July 21, 2010 5:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Madagascar

After 50 years, journalism at a crossroads in Madagascar

Madagascar recently celebrated its 50th Independence Day, a milestone for a Malagasy press that has been documenting through difficult periods the nation’s tumultuous journey of self-rule. The funny thing is that most of our written press is in French, as in most former French colonies, and we never really question why that is or find issue with it. But when it comes to radio, the Malagasy language rules the air, seemingly a tribute to our enduring tradition of oral storytelling. Growing up in Antananarivo, my grandmother, like most Malagasies, would drop everything at the stroke of 2 p.m. to tune the radio she purchased in the 1940s to a daily show callled “Tantara mitohy” (literally, “story in progress”), a well-produced but low-budget radio “telenovela.”

July 21, 2010 8:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivorian trio charged; ailing reporter on hunger strike

New York, July 16, 2010—Three journalists were formally charged today after refusing to reveal to Ivory Coast’s state prosecutor their sources for a corruption story based on a document leaked from the prosecutor’s office. The journalists could face up to 10 years in prison.

Blog   |   Niger

Niger’s news media: From ‘décor’ to dynamism

The author, second from left, interviews Foreign Minister Moumouni Djermakoye in 1974. (Courtesy Kobéret Dodo) On August 3 1960, Niger’s Independence Day, I had no inkling that I would one day take up a career in journalism. I was only 11 years old then and my village was very far from the capital and any media outlet. It is only later, when I began attending high school in the capital that I came into contact with newspapers.

July 16, 2010 3:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Guinea

In Guinea, media hopeful with democratic transition

Transitional leader Sekouba Konaté casts his vote in June's historic elections in Guinea. (Reuters)Guinea’s historic presidential elections and new constitution are changing the media landscape in the West African country. Since last month, the military-led Transitional National Council has passed two new laws decriminalizing defamation and created a new media regulatory body.

Blog   |   Cameroon

Press fuels democracy in Cameroon, across continent

The author in his office in 1992. (L’Essor des Jeunes)

On January 1, 1960, during the proclamation of independence of the French speaking part of Cameroon, I was forced, with comrades from Leclerc high school in Yaoundé, to take part in the big parade organized by President Ahmadou Ahidjo. At that time, I would occasionally write articles for the school magazine, but also for Les Nouvelles du Moungo, a monthly published in my native city of Nkongsamba. Still haunted by the September 1959 death of my father, a member of the independentist underground banned by France, and the assassination of underground leader Ruben Um Nyobè, I went to see Abbott Albert Ndongmo, who had just launched, in March 1960, a monthly called L’Essor des Jeunes. This truly steered me toward journalism. 

July 15, 2010 4:30 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast detains three journalists over sources

Le Nouveau Courrier’s newsroom with a copy of Tuesday's edition. (Le Nouveau Courrier)

New York, July 15, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrest of three journalists in Ivory Coast who have been detained since Tuesday, when they refused to disclose sources for an investigative report detailing the results of a government probe into corruption in the coffee and cocoa export trade, according to local journalists and news reports.

Blog   |   Cameroon

Remembering Pius: The devastation of his death

Pius Njawé (Le Messager)It’s 7:50 a.m. I’m up early—lots of work to finish today. I check my e-mail. There’s a message from CPJ’s Lauren Wolfe, who I don’t know. The opening line reads: “I’m not sure if you heard that Pius Njawé was killed in a car crash yesterday in VirginiaAnne Nelson told us you worked closely with him when he was chosen for the IPFA in 1991.”
July 14, 2010 12:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Journalist among dead in Uganda terror attacks

Police at the scene of one of Sunday's terrorist attacks. (Reuters)

Since the beginning of Somalia’s Islamist extremist insurgency, the Al-Shabaab militia has targeted journalists and others that it considers opposed to its goals. Al-Shabaab is now reaching beyond Somalia’s borders, as the group claimed responsibility for two bomb attacks Sunday evening that rocked Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and left an estimated 74 people dead, including radio presenter Stephen Tinkamanyire

July 13, 2010 5:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger

50 years on, Francophone Africa strives for media freedom

A Congolese man removes a portrait of Belgium's king in Leopoldville on July 22, 1960, at the end of colonial rule. (AP)

CPJ has joined with African press freedom groups to urge African leaders to end repression of the media as they celebrate 50 years since the end of colonial rule. We will publish a series of blogs this week by African journalists reflecting on the checkered history of press freedom over that period.

This year is the 50th anniversary of independence for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa from colonial powers France and Belgium. To mark the event, French President Nicholas Sarkozy has invited African leaders to Paris for the July 14 Bastille Day celebrations. One thing that hasn’t changed much in the last half a century is that the presidents and prime ministers on the Champs Elysees reviewing stand can rest assured that media back home will dutifully report on their speeches and appearances.

July 13, 2010 2:22 PM ET

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Letters   |   Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Togo

CPJ, African groups call for press freedom commitment

Your Excellencies: As you gather in Paris for festivities that celebrate your nations’ 50 years of independence, we, the undersigned African press freedom advocates petition for your public commitment to a free, vibrant, and self-sustaining press as a cornerstone of the development of francophone Africa in the next five decades.

July 8, 2010 11:20 AM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Somaliland elections and coverage surprisingly...normal

Voters at a Somaliland polling station on June 26. (Ahmed Kheyre)Critical voices in the East African media—whether in EthiopiaRwandaBurundi, or Uganda—have been intimidated, banned, blocked, and beaten prior to elections in recent years. Somalia is so embroiled in conflict that even the concept of having elections remains a faraway dream. But in late June, the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia managed to hold relatively peaceful and free elections with decent media coverage, local journalists and election observers told CPJ.
July 7, 2010 5:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

View from a Somali photojournalist's blood-stained lens

This photo was taken just before missiles landed on a press conference in Mogadishu on June 29. (Badri Media)

On Tuesday, several journalists were wounded when missiles were fired on a press conference in the battlefield of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. When the National Union of Somali Journalists broke news of the attack, I immediately checked in with local reporters. I obtained the phone number of photojournalist Ilyas Ahmed Abukar, expecting to speak to a frantic or traumatized man, but to my surprise, Abukar was alert, calm, and willing to share his personal account of what transpired. After a short conversation, he pledged to continue answering my questions via e-mail. Here is some of what he told me.

July 2, 2010 12:29 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian newspaper reports tampering of its mail

Tampered mail sent to the Awramba Times.

New York, June 29, 2010—Ethiopia’s postal service should a conduct thorough and transparent investigation into the tampering of mail addressed to the country’s leading critical newspaper, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Awramba Times Editor-in-Chief Dawit Kebede said the paper has complained to the Ethiopian Postal Service at least three times since June 6 after finding opened and destroyed envelopes in its mailbox inside Teklay Posta Bet, the national postal headquarters in the capital, Addis Ababa. 

June 29, 2010 4:21 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Rwanda

Skepticism greets arrests in Rwandan journalist’s murder

New York, June 29, 2010—Authorities in Rwanda announced on Monday the arrest of two individuals in the murder of journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, who was shot late Thursday as he drove through the gate to his home in Kigali, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed skepticism about the arrests and called on authorities to disclose details of their investigation.

June 29, 2010 4:13 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Rwanda

Editor of censored Rwandan paper is assassinated

(Jeanne Umwana)New York, June 25, 2010—A top editor of an independent Rwandan newspaper that was recently banned by the government was assassinated in front of his home late Thursday, according to local journalists and news reports. An assailant shot Jean-Léonard Rugambage, left, acting editor of Umuvugizi  as he drove through the gate of his home in the capital, Kigali, around 10 p.m., Rwanda National police spokesperson Eric Kayiranga told CPJ.

June 25, 2010 2:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sierra Leone, USA

Finding success in exile from Sierra Leone

Deen (CPJ)It was just days ago that my daughter had her 11th birthday. She was excited about this birthday as never before, but I understood why. A couple of days prior, she was accepted to the Frederick Douglass Academy in Manhattan for middle school starting next fall. The school is regarded as one of the best in the city and going there has been her dream.

June 22, 2010 12:07 PM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea, Journalist Assistance

For Eritrean expatriate press, intimidation in exile

Tedros Menghistu's press card from Eritrea. He lives in Houston now.For the better part of the last 20 years, Tedros Menghistu has been a refugee, forced to flee his Red Sea homeland of Eritrea not once, but twice—first as a young man displaced by war in the early 1990s, and then as a professional journalist escaping political censorship and military conscription a decade later. Menghistu is also one of a handful of enterprising former professional journalists uprooted from Eritrea who have started independent news outlets in cities such as HoustonToronto, and London. As outlets for a range of views suppressed by the government in Eritrea, these upstart media platforms work under intimidation from supporters of the Eritrean government. 

Reports   |   Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Mexico, Somalia

Journalists in Exile 2010

An exodus from Iran, East Africa

At least 85 journalists fled their home countries in the past year in the face of attacks, threats, and possible imprisonment. High exile rates are seen in Iran and in the East African nations of Somalia and Ethiopia. A CPJ Special Report by María Salazar-Ferro

Iranian photographer Mohammad Kheirkhan, left, documents protests in Tehran. Kheirkhan was forced into exile. (Payam Borazjani)

Reports   |   Journalist Assistance, Multimedia, Somalia

Video Report: From Captivity to Exile



In “From Captivity to Exile," Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout talks about the plight of Somali cameraman Mohamed Abdifatah Elmi. The two were abducted along with three others in 2008. Freed after many months, Elmi remains at risk and is now in exile. (3:59)

Read our accompanying special report, “Journalists in Exile 2010.” Please visit our Journalist Assistance program and see how you can help.

Blog   |   Equatorial Guinea

UNESCO's dictator prize put on hold

Bokova (AP)

Irina Bokova, UNESCO's director-general, delivered a firm message on Tuesday to representatives from UNESCO's 58-member executive board assembled at the organization's Paris headquarters: Bestowing the Obiang International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, named for and financed by one of the most repressive leaders in Africa, would do grave damage to the organization.

Blog   |   Liberia

In Liberia, needy media strained to cover election campaign

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state, is up for reelection in October. (AFP)

Last week in steamy, rain-soaked Monrovia, anticipation for the World Cup aside, I could already sense the buzz building around presidential elections scheduled for October of 2011. In the coming contest—only the second presidential election since the end of the civil war—Liberians will decide whether to reelect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state, for a second term. Just as the daily downpours fill the potholes that mar almost every road in Liberia, giving the illusion of a smooth passable surface, Liberia’s airwaves and newspapers will soon be filled with the political propaganda of the candidates.

Alerts   |   Rwanda

Rwanda news Web site blocked after paper suspended

New York, June 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Rwandan authorities today to provide information as to why the Web site of newspaper Umuvugizi is inaccessible in the run-up to August presidential elections. The state-run Rwanda News Agency reported on June 3 that the Web site of Umuvugizi, a leading private paper known for its critical coverage of the government, could not be opened on the networks of the country’s only Internet service providers.

June 11, 2010 4:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, Syria, Zimbabwe

Cano laureates say no to UNESCO Obiang prize

Cano winner Lydia Cacho signed a letter protesting the prize. (CPJ)Each year, UNESCO honors a courageous international journalist with the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, named in honor of the Colombian editor murdered in 1986 by the Medellín Cartel. The prize is chosen by an independent jury and over the years I've attended several moving ceremonies in which some of the most daring journalists of our generation have been honored. 

Alerts   |   Zambia

Zambia should halt harassment of The Post, M’membe

M’membe, right, outside court. (The Post)

New York, June 3, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda and his administration to halt the ongoing harassment of the nation’s leading independent newspaper The Post and its award-winning editor Fred M’membe. On Tuesday, a magistrate in the capital, Lusaka, convicted M'membe on a criminal charge of contempt of court and scheduled sentencing for Friday, defense lawyer Remmy Mainza told CPJ. M’membe, a 1995 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, could face up to six months in prison, said Mainza. He said the defense would likely appeal the verdict.

Blog   |   Angola, Togo

In Angola, censorship shrouds journalist’s killing

Angolan police escort the Togolese team bus in the aftermath of the deadly attack. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)On January 8, while Angola was hosting the African Cup of Nations, the country made worldwide headlines after a deadly attack on the Togolese national soccer team, which left a coach and a journalist dead. With international attention turning to the story, a shroud of state censorship and self-censorship by the Angolan media obscured the factual circumstances of the attack and its aftermath.

June 3, 2010 11:08 AM ET

Alerts   |   Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Italy, Kuwait, South Africa, Turkey, Venezuela

Israeli forces detain journalists aboard humanitarian flotilla

New York, June 1, 2010--Israel should immediately release the journalists it detained along with hundreds of peace activists on Monday after Israeli forces stormed a convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. According to international news reports and CPJ interviews, Israeli forces arrested at least 20 journalists aboard the humanitarian flotilla; three have since been released.

Blog   |   Somalia

Somali journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur wins CNN award

SIMBAAt CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award ceremony in November 2009, Agence France-Presse's Somalia correspondent Mustafa Haji Abdinur—an award winner—pleaded with his audience: “Friends, if a journalist is killed the news is also killed. We need your support now more than ever. Please don’t forget us.” Abidnur, 28, has not been forgotten. We are excited to learn that on Saturday he won the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Award in the Free Press category.

Blog   |   Cameroon

U.S. voices concerns in Ngota death

We received a letter this week from Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Don Yamamoto in support of our plea to Cameroonian President Paul Biya for an investigation into the death of Germain Ngota Ngota, editor of the Cameroon Express. Ngota did not receive adequate medical assistance while in government custody and died of illness on April 22, according to a prison death certificate that his family shared with journalists. Ngota and editors from two other publications were arrested February 25 in connection with their reports on corruption allegations involving a presidential aide. Here is Yamamoto's letter.

May 28, 2010 1:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Eritrea, USA

Eritrean journalist attacked at public seminar in Houston

New York, May 27, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for a thorough investigation into a May 9 attack on an Eritrean expatriate journalist by supporters of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki at a public event in eastern Texas. The event was advertised locally in printed fliers, and on the pro-government Dehai.org Web site as a “Public Seminar for all Eritreans in Houston and Environs.” Tedros Menghistu Wondefrash, publisher and editor of Selam, a Tigrinyan-language, monthly newsletter printed in Houston, was attacked when he tried to attend, he told CPJ.

May 27, 2010 6:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe allows independent dailies for 1st time in 7 years

New York, May 27, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists hails the Zimbabwe Media Commission’s decision to grant publishing licenses to The Daily News, the long-banned independent newspaper, and a handful of other publications. Commission Chairman Godfrey Majonga announced on Wednesday that the licenses would be issued immediately, marking the first time in nearly seven years that an independent daily will be allowed to print domestically, local journalists told CPJ.

Blog   |   Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, Daily News is on the way back

Armed riot police and security officers guard the entrance to The Daily News after it was shut down in 2003. It may soon reopen. (AP)Zimbabwe’s beleaguered independent media won a major victory when an official commission granted publishing licenses to four daily newspapers, including The Daily News, the nation’s leading paper before it was outlawed seven years ago. The news was greeted with cheers from independent journalists, who have endured years of repression, arrest, and violence at the hands of Zimbabwe’s authoritarian government.

Blog   |   Eritrea, Sweden

Reluctant activist: A brother’s struggle to free Dawit Isaac

Missing journalist Dawit Isaac's brother, Esayas, began the Free Dawit campaign in 2004. (Petra Jankov Picha)

In 2001, Eritrean security forces imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaac along with nine other journalists without trial in September 2001. The arrests effectively shut down the nation’s fledgling independent press and any potential political dissent prior to scheduled December 2001 elections, which were subsequently cancelled. To this day, Dawit is believed to be held incommunicado in a tiny cell in poor health. In all the years since his disappearance, Dawit’s brother, Esayas Isaac, has fought for his release. CPJ spoke to him on May 24, during the week of Eritrea’s 19th Independence Day:

May 25, 2010 2:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Gambia's 'Smiling Coast' hides local media's grimace

A billboard for a tourism conference in Gambia. (CPJ)

Who would not like to enjoy luxurious beach resorts and quaint fishing villages on the “Smiling Coast of Africa”? This is the pitch that the Gambian government made to participants of an international tourism conference last week. In fact, behind the idyllic facade of a tropical paradise wedged on Africa's western Atlantic coast is the grimace of Gambia's independent press. 

May 24, 2010 12:36 PM ET

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Letters   |   Equatorial Guinea

Press freedom groups ask UNESCO to reject Obiang money

Dear Director-General Bokova: We, the undersigned freedom of expression organizations, join with the Committee to Protect Journalists to express our grave concern regarding the $3 million donation by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang for the administration of an international prize in life sciences. As a leading institution that advocates “empowering people through the free flow of ideas and by access to information and knowledge,” UNESCO should not accept funds from one of Africa’s worst violators of press freedom.

Alerts   |   Madagascar

Soldiers raid Madagascar radio station, assault staff

New York, May 18, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government of Madagascar to investigate a Saturday raid on the opposition radio station Fréquence Plus that resulted in the arrest of an opposition leader while he was on a live radio program, local journalists told CPJ. The soldiers injured three journalists and destroyed the station’s equipment in 67 Hectares, a district in the capital, Antananarivo, before arresting opposition leader Ambroise Ravonison and another on-air guest, Harrison Razafindrakoto, the journalists said.
May 18, 2010 5:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea

Exiled Eritrean editor reunites with family

The Berhane family, together in Toronto after eight years apart. From left are Mussie, Aaron, Miliete, Frieta, and Eiven. (Family photo)Eight years ago, Aaron Berhane left his wife and three children behind as he fled his native Eritrea, a fugitive wanted by authorities because his newspaper had dared criticize the government of revered independence leader Isaias Afewerki. In May 2009, Berhane's family managed to escape to Sudan. This month, at last, they joined him in Canada.

May 17, 2010 3:15 PM ET

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Letters   |   Cameroon

In Cameroon, CPJ seeks untainted inquiry in Ngota death

Dear President Biya: We are alarmed by investigations that appear to be flawed and marred with political interference into the April 22 death in prison of journalist Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota. We hold Cameroon's government responsible for Ngota's death and the well-being of three other journalists in the custody of the administration. We call on you to address these concerns, along with allegations of torture of journalists by a security agency accountable to your office.

May 6, 2010 5:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cameroon, Somalia

Somali gunmen kill veteran broadcast reporter

New York, May 5, 2010—Three gunmen shot dead veteran broadcast journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey on Tuesday evening as he was returning home from work at the state-run Radio Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. Gunmen abducted Abkey, left, near his residence in Wardhigley, southern Mogadishu, and shot him repeatedly in the head. Local journalists said they suspect Abkey was tortured after finding his body dumped in an alleyway in Wardhigley.
May 5, 2010 4:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan

Honoring local journalists on World Press Freedom Day

With valuable help from her interpreter, the author recently reported from Bukavu on women's rights and sexual violence. A hospital in Bukavu, above, treats victims of violence. (AFP/Adia Tshipuku)

Today, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day. But on this day, this year, I am not thinking about the dangers for the many journalists whose bylines I’ve come to associate with places like Mogadishu or Manila, Kabul or Islamabad. It’s not because I don’t have immense respect for them and for the risks they take to bring their readers essential reports from some of the most dangerous corners of the world. I do.

May 3, 2010 12:41 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Nigeria

In Nigeria, 4 journalists receive death threats

New York, April 30, 2010Four journalists who covered the recent dismissal of the electoral commission chairman received anonymous death threats via text message on Wednesday, according to CPJ interviews and news reports. The messages, sent from the same number, said the reporters would meet the fate of three slain Nigerian journalists.

April 30, 2010 4:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Two Ethiopian state TV journalists under arrest

New York, April 30, 2010In light of the Ethiopian government’s longstanding practice of jailing journalists on trumped-up criminal charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the detentions last week of two government TV journalists on allegations of misusing state property. CPJ is monitoring the legal proceedings closely.

April 30, 2010 1:22 PM ET

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Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka

Ten Journalist Murder Cases to Solve

CPJ challenges authorities in 10 nations
to bring justice and reverse culture of impunity

Protesters in Manila seek justice in the Maguindanao massacre. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco) New York, April 29, 2010—In the Philippines, political clan members slaughter more than 30 news media workers and dump their bodies in mass graves. In Sri Lanka, a prominent editor who has criticized authorities is so sure of retaliation that he predicts his own murder. In Pakistan, a reporter who embarrassed the government is abducted and slain. In these and hundreds of other journalist killings worldwide, no one has been convicted.

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Multimedia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka

Audio Report: Ten Murder Cases to Solve




In our special report, “Ten Journalist Murder Cases to Solve,” CPJ challenges authorities to solve these news media slayings and reverse the culture of impunity. Here, CPJ's Robert Mahoney explains why each of these cases can be solved if governments demonstrate political will. Listen to the mp3 on the player above, or right click here to download. (2:59)

Read “Getting Away With Murder.”
April 29, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Nigeria

Three journalists killed in Nigeria

(The Nation)

New York, April 26, 2010—Three Nigerian journalists were killed in two separate incidents over the weekend. Muslim rioters killed two reporters working with a local Christian newspaper on Saturday, according to local journalists and news reports. Also on Saturday, court reporter Edo Sule Ugbagwu, at left, from the private daily The Nation was shot dead at his home by two gunmen, according to local journalists.

Letters   |   Cameroon

Cameroon must investigate jailed editor's death

Dear President Biya: Following Thursday’s death of newspaper editor Germain S. Ngota Ngota, whose health deteriorated while he was incarcerated in Kondengui Prison in the capital, Yaoundé, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on you to launch a public, thorough, and transparent inquiry into the circumstances of his death. We urge you to provide guarantees for the well-being of three other journalists held in Cameroonian prisons and address ongoing abuses—including allegations of state torture—against independent journalists who raise questions about the administration’s performance.

April 25, 2010 4:07 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cameroon

Jailed journalist dies in Cameroon prison

New York, April 22, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by today’s death of newspaper editor Germain S. Ngota Ngota, whose health deteriorated while he was incarcerated in Cameroon. The death certificate for Ngota, editor of the private bimonthly Cameroon Express, determined that the journalist died from a lack of medical attention in Kondengui prison in the capital, Yaoundé, according to editors Hilaire Medjo of the weekly Nouvelle Vision and François Fogno Fotso of the weekly Génération Libre.

April 22, 2010 5:19 PM ET

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

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index spotlights countries
where journalists are slain and killers go free



New York, April 20, 2010—Deadly, unpunished violence against the press has soared in the Philippines and Somalia, 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. Impunity in journalist murders also rose significantly in Russia and Mexico, two countries with long records of entrenched, anti-press violence.

Blog   |   Eritrea

Dawit Isaac: Jailed 3,127 days in Eritrea without trial

A banner in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Petra Jankov Picha)

Journalist Dawit Isaac has spent 3,127 days in government custody in his native Eritrea, according to the ticker on FreeDawit, a Web site based in Sweden, Isaac’s adopted country, where he is a citizen. He has never been publicly charged with a crime or been given a trial. A thorny issue between Sweden and the Red Sea nation for many years, the imprisonment of Isaac sparked disagreement between diplomats for the two countries again this week.

April 16, 2010 2:49 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Rwanda

Rwanda shuts critical papers in run-up to presidential vote

New York, April 13, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s decision by Rwanda’s Media High Council to suspend two independent weeklies just months prior to presidential elections. At a press conference, attended only by state broadcasters and the pro-government radio station Contact FM, the Media High Council announced an immediate six month suspension of private vernacular weeklies, Umuseso and Umuvugizi.

April 13, 2010 4:39 PM ET

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Reports   |   Journalist Assistance, Somalia, Uganda

Special Report: A Somali Journalist in Exile

Radio journalist Ahmed Omar Hashi is a survivor, but he has paid dearly. He's been threatened and targeted for death. He's seen his colleagues and friends killed. Now, like other Somali journalists, Hashi struggles in exile and hopes one day he can resume his work. By Karen Phillips

Reports   |   Journalist Assistance, Multimedia, Somalia

Video Report: A Somali Journalist in Exile



In “A Somali Journalist in Exile,” CPJ talks with Ahmed Omar Hashi, a former editor for the independent Mogadishu station Radio Shabelle. After three attempts were made on Hashi’s life, CPJ and local partners helped him relocate to Uganda. Hashi talks about the many challenges in his new life in exile and his hopes to resume his work. (5:00)

Read our accompanying special report, “A Somali Journalist in Exile.” Please visit our Journalist Assistance program and see how you can help.
April 13, 2010 12:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea

Truth about jailed journalists is locked away in Eritrea

In the reclusive Red Sea nation of Eritrea, the fate of 10 journalists who disappeared in secret prisons following a September 2001 government crackdown has been a virtual state secret—only occasionally pierced by shreds of often unverifiable, secondhand information smuggled out of the country by defectors or others fleeing into exile.

Blog   |   Journalist Assistance, Somalia

Exiled Somali journalists face new challenges in Nairobi

Gesey, left, and Jimale in their Nairobi apartment. (CPJ/Tom Rhodes)

Somali journalists Hassan Ali Gesey and Abdihakim Jimale are roommates these days, living in a tiny, graffiti-ridden room in Nairobi, Kenya. Neither would have wanted to eke out an existence like this, but dire circumstances brought them together—starting with the night three years ago that Gesey saved Jimale’s life.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Somali insurgents ban BBC

New York, April 9, 2010—Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia have banned all BBC broadcasts from the areas they control and confiscated the corporation’s FM transmitters and satellite dishes. Local journalists told CPJ that Al-Shabaab issued a statement today announcing the immediate ban, claiming the BBC carried the “agenda of the crusaders” and “opposed an Islamic administration.”
April 9, 2010 3:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

In eastern DRC, soldiers suspected in cameraman’s murder

JED

New York, April 6, 2010—Following Monday’s murder of freelance cameraman Patient Chebeya in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for a renewed commitment from the government to solidly investigate and prosecute those who kill journalists.

Armed men in military uniforms jumped Chebeya, at left, around 10 p.m. as his wife let him in his house in the volatile eastern city of Beni, according to local press freedom group Journaliste En Danger (JED). 

April 6, 2010 5:07 PM ET

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Letters   |   Uganda

Ugandan parliament should reject press bill

Dear Mr. Speaker: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the proposed amendment to the 1995 Ugandan Press and Journalist Act, which is expected to be presented before parliament soon. We believe the bill would severely hamper the operations of newspapers and damage the country’s press freedom credentials.

April 5, 2010 11:07 AM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

In Uganda, bill challenges press freedom

On March 24, I received an e-mail from a close friend under the intriguing subject “What...?” On opening the e-mail, I discovered my friend was not impressed by two articles in that morning’s newspapers condemning the government’s recent proposal to amend the press law and introduce new restrictions on the publication of newspapers.

April 5, 2010 10:54 AM ET

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Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

In Bukavu courtroom, Namujimbo murder trial unfolds

Some of the suspects in the Didace Namujimbo murder trial. (JED)

Didace Namujimbo, a journalist for Radio Okapi, was shot dead on the night of November 21, 2008. Now, after repeated delays, a military court in Bukavu, capital of the province of South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is putting on trial a dozen people charged in connection with the murder.

March 31, 2010 10:21 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Uganda

At least 5 Ugandan journalists wounded covering protest

New York, March 19, 2010At least five journalists were wounded while covering violent clashes between security personnel and protesters outside the capital, Kampala, on Wednesday. Scores of protestors and mourners came to Kasubi, a Kampala suburb, after a fire of unknown origin destroyed the historically significant royal tombs of the Buganda kingdom on Tuesday.   

Blog   |   Gambia

Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release

Gambia Press Union

For more than two years, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and a group of Senate colleagues have been pressing for the release of Gambian journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, left. In July 2006, security agents arrested Manneh at his workplace at the Daily Observer and have since held him incommunicado and without charge. On Thursday, Durbin and four other senators sent a letter to Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, urging him to launch an investigation into the case. 

March 19, 2010 10:15 AM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Ugandan photographers take heat after fire at royal tombs

A Ugandan soldier quells a protest after fire destroyed the tombs of Bagandan kings. (Reuters)

It seemed like déjà vu. Another major protest erupts in Uganda and journalists face the wrath of authorities and the public alike. Tensions between the government and the traditional kingdom of the Baganda, the largest ethnic group based in central Uganda, flared again Tuesday evening after a fire of unknown origin ravaged the tombs of traditional kings, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Kasubi Hill near the capital, Kampala. Last September, a number of journalists were attacked or harassed while covering deadly clashes between the government and Baganda protesters.

March 18, 2010 6:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Ugandan plan would punish media for ‘economic sabotage’

Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill has received considerable international attention, particularly concerning its harsh criminal sanctions, but another piece of repressive legislation threatens to criminalize the activities of another maligned group: the vibrant independent press in this East African nation at the confluence of Africa’s largest lake (Victoria) and the world’s longest river (Nile). 

March 15, 2010 1:34 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Nigeria

Nigerian reporter assaulted at mass funeral

Mourners in Dogo Nahawa. (Reuters)

New York, March 11, 2010An angry crowd of mourners attending a mass funeral in Dogo Nahawa, central Nigeria, assaulted state radio reporter Murtala Sani on Monday. Sani, a reporter for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, was assigned to cover the funeral of more than 40 people killed during a bloody March 7 attack on four villages in central Nigeria

March 11, 2010 4:52 PM ET

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Letters   |   Cameroon

CPJ alarmed by harassment of journalists in Cameroon

Dear President Biya: We are writing to express our alarm at the harassment and abuse of at least a dozen journalists in Cameroon. These reporters each raised questions about your administration’s management of public finances, the progress of an anti-corruption drive dubbed Operation Sparrowhawk, and local government affairs. We call on you to hold members of the administration accountable for using security forces and criminal laws to settle scores with the media. We further urge you to initiate reforms that would refer matters of defamation to civil courts.

Blog   |   Rwanda

Rwanda's Kagame tries to link bombs to critical press

APJournalists in Kigali are on tenterhooks after President Paul Kagame, left, made new accusations of their supposed involvement in a bomb attack in Rwanda. Just months before Rwanda’s presidential elections, Kigali was recently hit by two grenade attacks that killed two people and injured 30 others, according to news reports.

March 10, 2010 3:19 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Nigeria

Two sports journalists kidnapped in Nigeria

New York, March 2, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of two sports journalists, one South African and one Nigerian, who were seized by unidentified gunmen in military uniforms on Monday. The gunmen stopped a bus carrying 21 crew members of M-Net’s SuperSport channel, a South African private satellite television station, and took the three journalists hostage, local journalists told CPJ. Another Nigerian journalist was able to escape.

March 2, 2010 5:51 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Kenya, Somalia

African journalists face increasing risk for foreign outlets

Abdulle (CPJ)

“I didn’t wear the bulletproof jacket and helmet that Reuters gave me,” explained veteran Somali journalist Sahal Abdulle to a packed crowd at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel for CPJ’s launch of Attacks on the Press. “It didn’t seem right when my colleagues, local journalists, were risking their lives trying to cover the same event.” Abdulle, like all Somali journalists, faces immense challenges in covering the story in his war-ravaged country. According to this year’s findings in Attacks, nearly all the journalists killed in the line of duty in 2009 were local journalists—and nine of them were killed in Somalia.

February 16, 2010 5:32 PM ET

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Letters   |   Ethiopia

CPJ urges Ethiopia's Zenawi to pursue press reforms

Mr. Prime Minister: We are writing to draw your attention to conditions that undermine press freedom as guaranteed in Article 29 of the Ethiopian Constitution. We would welcome your leadership in furthering reform by working for the repeal of draconian provisions in recent antiterrorism and media legislation.

February 16, 2010 4:43 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2009: Preface

In Tehran, journalists faced vague antistate accusations during mass, televised judicial proceedings. (AP) By Fareed Zakaria

Toward the end of his 118-day ordeal inside Tehran’s Evin prison, Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari had a bizarre exchange with his interrogator. Bahari had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest after Iran’s disputed presidential election in June; he had been subjected to near-daily beatings and interrogation sessions that stretched for hours. But his jailers had not been able to prove their accusation that Bahari was a spy for Western intelligence agencies. So they had an ominous-sounding new charge to levy against him: “media espionage.”

February 16, 2010 12:58 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Rwanda, Somalia, Zimbabwe

In African hot spots, journalists forced into exile

Al-Shabaab militants patrol Mogadishu's Bakara Market, home to several media outlets. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)By Tom Rhodes

High numbers of local journalists have fled several African countries in recent years after being assaulted, threatened, or imprisoned, leaving a deep void in professional reporting. The starkest examples are in the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, where dozens of journalists have been forced into exile. Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and the Gambia have also lost large segments of the local press corps in the face of intimidation and violence.

Attacks on the Press   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attacks on the Press 2009: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Top Developments
• RFI removed from FM frequencies; other stations censored.
• Hundreds march in nine provinces to protest ongoing threats, violence.

Key Statistic
3: Female journalists threatened with “a bullet to the head” after focusing their work on women’s issues.


Authorities censored coverage of armed conflict and human rights violations in the mineral-rich eastern Kivu provinces. Insecurity reigned in the volatile region, despite the presence of the world’s largest U.N. peacekeeping force. Tens of thousands of people continued to die every month from conflict, disease, and famine, while human rights groups detailed pervasive rape and sexual violence. The vast Central African nation remained among the region’s riskiest for journalists three years after it transitioned to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections. Throughout the country, officials harassed and obstructed journalists who criticized local officials.

February 16, 2010 12:40 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Ethiopia

Top Developments
• Terrorism law criminalizes coverage of sensitive topics.
• Broadcasting Authority serves as government censor.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists jailed as of December 1, 2009.


Ahead of national elections scheduled for May 2010, the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) further curtailed the limited freedom of the country’s small number of independent newspapers. The government enacted harsh legislation that criminalized coverage of vaguely defined “terrorist” activities, and used administrative restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and imprisonments to induce self-censorship. In all, four reporters and editors were being held when CPJ conducted its annual census of imprisoned journalists on December 1.

February 16, 2010 12:37 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Gambia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Gambia

Top Developments
•  Hydara murder unsolved; secrecy surrounds Manneh detention.
•  Domestic, international pressure prompts Jammeh to halt crackdown.

Key Statistic
6: Journalists jailed for sedition after saying president’s remarks on Hydara case were insensitive.


Authorities jailed six journalists after their publications said President Yahya Jammeh had been insensitive in televised remarks about the unsolved 2004 murder of prominent Gambian editor Deyda Hydara. The six, convicted in August on baseless charges of sedition, were sentenced to two years in prison but were freed in September after Jammeh, facing considerable domestic and international pressure, issued pardons.

February 16, 2010 12:36 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Madagascar

Attacks on the Press 2009: Madagascar

Top Developments
• Rival leaders use media empires to pursue political goals.
• Partisan attacks target journalists, news outlets.

Key Statistic
1: Journalist killed in 2009, the first Malagasy media fatality ever recorded by CPJ.


Malagasy journalists faced censorship, threats, and arrest as former president Marc Ravalomanana and new head of state Andry Rajoelina used their partisan media empires in a struggle for control of this Indian Ocean island nation. One journalist was killed in the midst of violent unrest.

February 16, 2010 12:28 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Niger

Attacks on the Press 2009: Niger

Top Developments
• Tandja tightens grip on power, media through constitutional changes.
• Journalists reporting on corruption face government reprisals.

Key Statistic
3: Years beyond his elected term that Tandja can serve, according to a constitutional change.


In an audacious bid to maintain power, President Mamadou Tandja pushed through constitutional amendments repealing presidential term limits and tightening his control of the state media regulatory agency. Facing heavy criticism in the run-up to an August referendum on the constitutional changes, the Tandja administration silenced dissent by imprisoning critics, intimidating news media, and issuing an emergency decree dissolving both the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court. Official results showed that the amendments passed with 92 percent approval, but opposition politicians and their supporters had boycotted the vote, which they called a mockery of the constitution.

February 16, 2010 12:23 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Nigeria

Attacks on the Press 2009: Nigeria

Top Developments
• Local operatives of the ruling PDP assault journalists with impunity.
• Editor slain at his home outside Lagos. Wife pledges to continue his work.

Key Statistic
21: National dailies, a number reflecting Nigeria’s robust media climate.


With 21 national dailies, 12 television stations, and several emerging online news sources, Nigeria continued to boast one of the most vibrant news media cultures on the continent. But a series of attacks fanned fears in the press corps and prompted self-censorship.

February 16, 2010 12:22 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Somalia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Somalia

Top Developments
• Al-Shabaab terrorizes media through violence, threats, censorship.
• Many local journalists flee into exile, leaving a void in coverage.

Key Statistic
9: Journalists killed in direct relation to their work in 2009.


Somalia was among the world’s deadliest countries in 2009, surpassing violent hot spots such as Iraq and Pakistan. As conflict continued between the weak Transitional Federal Government and multiple insurgent groups, nine journalists were killed in direct connection to their work, seven of them in the volatile capital, Mogadishu. An exodus of local journalists continued throughout the year, and few international journalists dared travel into the country for firsthand reporting, according to CPJ research. As a result, the amount and quality of news coverage of Somalia’s political and humanitarian crisis suffered greatly, CPJ found.

February 16, 2010 12:16 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press 2009: Uganda

Top Developments
• Reporters attacked, harassed during Kampala unrest.
• Criminal cases pile up as high court considers constitutional challenge.

Key Statistic
22: Criminal cases pending against Andrew Mwenda, a top political editor.


Violent protests broke out in Kampala in September when security forces blocked leaders of the traditional kingdom of the Baganda, Uganda’s largest ethnic group, from visiting Kayunga district for a planned rally, according to local news reports. More than 25 people were killed and 846 people arrested in two days of clashes that underscored political tensions between the government and the kingdom, according to official figures reported in the press.

February 16, 2010 12:11 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Zambia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Zambia

Top Developments
• Ruling party supporters behind assaults against journalists.
• Government wages politicized prosecutions against The Post.

Key Statistic
400: Estimated turnout at a demonstration protesting anti-press attacks.


Press freedom deteriorated in the first full year of Rupiah Banda’s presidency. Tensions mounted between Banda’s government and the leading independent daily The Post. Politicized criminal charges were leveled at Post staff members concerning the circulation of photos that Banda labeled “obscene” but others saw as a shocking look at a government health-care problem. Ruling party supporters were tied to a series of attacks against The Post and other journalists.

February 16, 2010 12:04 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2009: Zimbabwe

Top Developments
• Government fails to implement reforms allowing private media to operate.
• Two international broadcasters allowed to resume operation.

Key Statistic
$32,000: Application and accreditation fees imposed on international journalists.


In a measure of the deplorable state of press freedom in Zimbabwe, a year marked by harassment and obstruction was considered a small step forward. “Journalists continue to be followed, detained, and abducted; phones and e-mail messages are intercepted; the output of news from government reminds one of Radio Moscow during the Soviet era,” Geoff Hill, exiled Zimbabwean journalist and author, told CPJ.

February 16, 2010 12:03 AM ET

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Blog   |   Angola, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Freedom of information laws struggle to take hold in Africa

Monitor reporter Angelo Izama, right, went through the courts to gain access to government documents and was denied. (Monitor)

In Uganda, a ruling this week in a landmark case of two journalists seeking to compel their government’s disclosure of multinationals oil deals highlighted the challenges to public transparency just before media leaders, press freedom advocates, officials, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gather in Ghana next week at the African Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information.

Blog   |   South Africa

Press freedom gets red card as World Cup approaches

Police patrol the World Cup grounds in South Africa. (AFP)As South Africa prepares to host the 2010 World Cup and “soccer fever” reaches its height, press freedom may be left on the benches. Police have recently subpoenaed two journalists working for private station e.tv to reveal their sources in a story about a scheme to commit violent crimes during the big event.
 
On January 16, e.tv interviewed two masked, self-confessed criminals who claimed they planned to steal from tourists in town for the Cup. The police and ruling African National Congress party were not pleased with the bad publicity. Now the police want to use apartheid-era legislation to force News Editor Ben Saidi and reporter Mpho Lakaje to reveal the identity and contact details of the two sources.
January 26, 2010 5:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

A new mission for Somalia’s Mustafa Haji Abdinur

January 21 marks Press Day in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to be a journalist. As such, few local journalists find much reason to celebrate. With nine Somali journalists killed in the line of duty last year, numerous local journalists have fled, especially from the restive capital, Mogadishu. “The free media is going to die out,” journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur warned Ron Hill in an MSNBC interview last year after he received CPJ’s 2009 International Press Freedom Award.

January 21, 2010 3:55 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Namibia

Journalist assaulted for his work in Namibia

John Grobler

New York, January 14, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Namibian authorities to thoroughly investigate an alleged attack by four assailants against freelance journalist John Grobler on January 8. Grobler told CPJ that four men attacked him at a bar Friday evening in the capital, Windhoek, cutting his face with a broken glass and kicking him repeatedly in the head. Grobler was taken to MediCity Emergency Clinic, where he was treated and released.

January 14, 2010 4:36 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tanzania

Leading investigative weekly suspended in Tanzania

Kulikoni on a newsstand in Tanzania. (Mbarak Islam)

New York, January 12, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for the suspension of independent weekly Swahili newspaper Kulikoni to be lifted immediately. Information Minister George Mkuchika announced the suspension of the leading investigative weekly on Friday, citing a sales and distribution ban for a period of 90 days beginning January 11, according to local journalists and news reports.

The ruling was linked to a November 27, 2009, story that alleged cheating in the national exams for the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces, the managing editor of Dar-es-Salaam-based KulikoniEvarist Mwitumba, told CPJ. 

January 12, 2010 1:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Angola, Togo

Togolese journalist killed in Angola attack

A soldier stands guard before an African Nations Cup banner. (AFP)New York, January 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today on Angolan authorities to ensure the safety of sports journalists covering the African Nations Cup following the death of a Togolese sports journalist on Friday. Stanislas Ocloo was gunned down in the attack on Togo’s national soccer team’s bus in the northwestern Angolan enclave of Cabinda. Also killed was assistant coach Hamelet Abulo, according to Angola's official ANGOP news agency. As many as three people were killed and nine injured in the strike, CNN reported today.

January 11, 2010 4:41 PM ET

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Letters   |   Somalia

Press under fire in Puntland, CPJ tells leader

Dear Mr President: The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about deteriorating press freedom conditions in Puntland, including detentions, censorship, harassment, and direct attacks by police officers. Many of these disturbing attacks have targeted the U.S. government-funded Voice of America and one of its reporters, although several local reporters say they are seeing an overall pattern of harassment.

January 6, 2010 4:29 PM ET

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