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Mauritius


Dharmanand Dooharika (Lexpress)

New York, October 20, 2011--Authorities in Mauritius today imprisoned a journalist for contempt of the Supreme Court and levied two fines over coverage of a case, according to local journalists and news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentences.

Editor-in-Chief Dharmanand Dooharika of the private weekly Samedi Plus was incarcerated in the main prison in the town of Beau-Bassin, even though his appeal is pending against the three- month jail sentence handed down Monday by Justice Keshoe Parsad Matadeen of the Mauritius Supreme Court, defense lawyer Ravi Rutnah told CPJ.

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.

Although the Kenya-based East African Standard, one of Africa's oldest continuously published newspapers, marked its 100th anniversary in November, journalism remains a difficult profession on the continent, with adverse government policies and multifaceted economic woes still undermining the full development of African media.

New York, September 7, 2000 --- An irate crowd of some three dozen people calling themselves agents of Mauritian prime minister Navin Ramgoolam's Labor Party staged a loud demonstration in front of the offices of Le Mauricien and L'express, the island's leading independent dailies.

Wielding sticks and shouting slogans, the protesters railed against what they called the two newspapers' bias against Prime Minister Ramgoolam. The prime minister is seeking reelection in Monday's general elections, a vote observers say he is unlikely to win. On September 6, Le Mauricien and L'express both reported that Ramgoolam had been booed the previous day by a crowd of disgruntled Labor Party sympathizers in his home constituency of Pamplemousse, a small town ten miles outside the capital of Port Louis.

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From Attacks on the Press,
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