Africa

2011

Blog   |   Mauritius

Mauritius no heaven for news media

CPJAmerican author Mark Twain once quoted a Mauritian as saying that heaven was copied after this Indian Ocean island paradise. Mauritius is cited today as one of the few havens of press freedom in Africa, but for Raj Meetarbhan, left, editor-in-chief of the island's largest newspaper L'Express, the country is fast losing its glow.

Meetarbhan was literally shaking with anger one recent day as I walked into his newspaper's office in Riche Terre, just outside of Port Louis, the island's largest city.

February 4, 2011 1:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Malawi

Malawi amendment bans news 'not in public interest'

Mutharika (AFP)

New York, February 1, 2011--An amendment to Malawi's penal code, which became law last week, allows the government to ban any publication deemed contrary to public interest for an unspecified period of time, institutionalizing political censorship of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.  

On January 26, President Bingu wa Mutharika signed into law an amendment to Section 46 of the penal code that gives the information minister unchecked discretion to block a publication he or she deems against the "public interest," according to news reports and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). Previously, Section 46 only prohibited importation of publications considered seditious.

February 1, 2011 4:38 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gabon

In Gabon, faux news draws real censorship

Obame after being "sworn in." The government took it seriously. (AFP)

Last week, Gabon's government-controlled National Communications Council ordered the TV station of opposition leader André Mba Obame off the air for a period of three months. The ruling is without appeal and, typically, this is how authorities in this oil-rich equatorial African state silence critical news outlets. Except that, this time, the "reporting" for which the TV station was forced off the air was not about a real event but rather the staging of a faux presidential swearing-in ceremony.

February 1, 2011 11:18 AM ET

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Blog   |   Equatorial Guinea

With abysmal press freedom record, Obiang takes AU chair

Reuters

The African Union announced on Sunday that the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, will become the new chairman in the union's yearly rotating leadership. The first debate Obiang (at left) presided over at the two-day AU conference that ends today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, concerned "shared values"--highlighting issues of democracy and good governance. Representing one of Africa's most oppressive dictatorships, with a completely stifled press, the new AU chair could hardly refer to personal experience in such a debate.

Blog   |   South Africa

In South Africa, judge orders probe into censorship at SABC

In South Africa, a judge this week ordered an official investigation into allegations that a former news executive for national public broadcaster SABC had muted critical voices and skewed coverage of major events--like the aftermath of Zimbabwe's 2005 election in favor of the ruling party. The ruling comes amid a contentious press freedom debate stirred by legislative proposals from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) that critics say would criminalize investigative journalism.

January 28, 2011 4:37 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Zambia

Authorities illegally shutter radio station in Zambia

New York, January 27, 2011--Authorities in Zambia's Western Province must immediately allow community station Radio Lyambayi to return to air, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government raided the private broadcaster based in Mongu, about 360 miles (580 kilometers) west of the capital, Lusaka, carting away computers and other broadcasting equipment on January 16, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

January 27, 2011 4:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   Liberia

Liberian saga: angry court, jailed editor, president's speech

As protests mounted, Sirleaf's government secured the release of jailed editor Rodney Sieh. (Aaron Leaf)

On Monday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will contest for a second term in elections next November, used her annual speech to the legislature to strengthen her image as the candidate of stability and growth. Among other things, she boasted about winning the "Friend of the Media" award from the African Editors Forum, the first for a sitting president. But there was something else: "We are glad," she said, "that the saga over the weekend has been resolved, allowing us to continue the distinction of having no journalists or politicians in jail."

January 27, 2011 12:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

South Africa resumes debate on secrecy bill

Protesters in Capetown decry secrecy bill. (Independent Newspapers Cape)

Parliamentary hearings on South Africa's Protection of Information Bill resumed last week with heated debate over provisions threatening to restrict press freedom and access to information. For journalists, much uncertainty remains over the final product and when it will be completed.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Somaliland editor sentenced to 3 years in prison

New York, January 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a three-year prison sentence handed to a newspaper editor in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland in connection with a story alleging public corruption. 

January 24, 2011 4:46 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Somalia

Somaliland editor sentenced to 3 years in prison

New York, January 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a three-year prison sentence handed to a newspaper editor in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland in connection with a story alleging public corruption. 

January 24, 2011 10:46 AM ET

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2011

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