This week, former Ivory Coast ruler Laurent Gbagbo was extradited to the Hague to account for alleged human rights violations before the International Criminal Court. Justice appears to be slower in coming to rival fighters loyal to current President Alassane Ouattara. According to CPJ research, Ouattara's forces have been involved in the deaths of two journalists, most recently Gilles Tutsi Murris Dabé.
Dabé, 39, a presenter with private Radio Nostalgie, was killed by a stray bullet around midnight on November 20, after fighters from the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces of the Ivory Coast (known by the French acronym FRCI) opened fire at a car at a checkpoint near the president's private residence, according to news reports and local journalists. The fighters opened fire after the driver refused to stop, witnesses told CPJ.
New York, November 28, 2011--Anonymous callers have repeatedly threatened Ugandan radio journalist Robert Ssembuusi over the past week after he aired a story implicating a former local mayor in corruption, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, November 28, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's public remarks on Thursday, in which he vilified members of the press. The following day, Jammeh won his fourth term in office as president.
New York, November 28, 2011--The administration of Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has detained without charge three journalists from an opposition newspaper since Thursday, in violation of the country's own press law and constitution, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Detained without charge for 18 days, tortured, and released without explanation, South Sudanese journalist Peter Ngor plans to fight back. "I am going to sue them [in] court. What they did to me was completely, utterly wrong," said Ngor, the editor of a new, private, English-language daily called Destiny.
Still, Ngor believes that his illegal detention was the work of a few individuals, and that ultimately, the world's newest country will support freedom of the press. "There are powerful individuals who want to stop the press for their own interests," he said.
New York, November 22, 2011--The South African National Assembly today passed an information bill which would sanction unauthorized possession and publication of classified state information with a prison term of up to 25 years, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the upper house of parliament to reject the bill, which has been criticized by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Nelson Mandela, among others.
New York, November 21, 2011--The spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma filed a criminal complaint on Saturday against two journalists investigating his alleged role in a $US5 billion international arms deal that became embroiled in scandal, according to news reports.
Weekly investigative paper Mail & Guardian sought comment last week from presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, also a member of the ruling African National Congress, regarding information leaked from a confidential 2004 police deposition about his role in an arms deal, editor Nic Dawes told the local press. Maharaj asked the journalists how they obtained the information and referred the inquiry to his lawyers, BDK Attorneys, according to news reports. The lawyers threatened the newspaper with criminal prosecution under a 1998 law punishing unauthorized disclosure of a suspect's testimony in an investigation with a prison term of up to 15 years, news reports said.
New York, November 21, 2011--Dawit Kebede, managing editor of Awramba Times, one of Ethiopia's two remaining independent Amharic-language newspapers offering critical analysis of local politics, announced today that he was forced to leave the country after he received a tip last week about alleged government plans to re-imprison him. Kebede also said that the paper was unlikely to continue publishing.
Kebede, whom CPJ honored a year ago for perseverance in pursuing independent journalism in Ethiopia despite ongoing government intimidation, told CPJ from Washington, D.C., that official sources warned him on Thursday of preparations by the Ministry of Justice and Government Communication Affairs to revoke the conditional pardon that authorities offered in 2007 to him and other imprisoned journalists rounded up in a brutal November 2005 crackdown.
Newspaper satirist Abebe Tolla, better known as Abé Tokichaw, fled Ethiopia fearing imprisonment in retaliation for critical news commentaries, media reported this week. His exit was overshadowed by the trial of opposition figures and journalists on charges of terrorism.
In an interview he gave to U.S.-based Addis Neger Online from an undisclosed location, Abebe said he fled the country because security agents threatened to throw him in prison. He did not even bid farewell to family members. Abebe alleged that state security agents pressured him for months to become an informant at his newspaper, the critical Amharic weekly Feteh.
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