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Press Freedom News and Views

Africa

Blog   |   Liberia, Sierra Leone

In Ebola-stricken countries, authorities and journalists should work together

Liberians wash at an Ebola information station in Monrovia. The government has implemented restrictions on journalists reporting on the outbreak. (AFP/Pascal Guyot)

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is unrelenting, and journalists on the frontline of reporting on the virus are caught between authorities wanting to control how the outbreak is reported, and falling victim to the disease themselves.

October 17, 2014 4:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi

Burundi's journalist union takes repressive press law to court

Alexandre Niyungeko, of the Burundi Union of Journalists, speaks out about the restrictive press law. (IWACU)

If the state decides that a journalist's article in Burundi jeopardizes someone's "moral integrity" under the country's Media Law it can demand that the journalist reveals sources, and it can suspend the publication. "It's a backwards, freedom-killing law," said Alexandre Niyungeko, the founder and head of the 300-member Burundi Union of Journalists. Despite the press fraternity's best efforts, including an appeal replete with 15,000 signatures from organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, urging the president to desist from signing it, President Pierre Nkurunziza passed the bill into law on June 4, 2013.

Blog   |   Liberia

In attempts to contain Ebola, Liberia censors its press

Security forces guard a checkpoint in an area of Monrovia that was in quarantine for several days as part of government efforts to try to contain Ebola in Liberia. (Reuters)

With the Ebola epidemic predicted to get worse, the Liberian government has taken action to silence news outlets critical of its handling of the health crisis which, according to Liberia's Information Ministry, has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the country since March. Publishers have been harassed and forced to cease printing, and journalists were initially not exempt from a curfew, making it difficult for them to work, according to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

Blog   |   Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Security, Syria

Back-to-back display killings of journalists unprecedented

The apparent back-to-back murders of two American freelance journalists by the same group are unprecedented in CPJ's history. The beheadings on camera in a two-week period of first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff appear to be an acceleration of a pattern--dating at least to Daniel Pearl's killing in 2002--of criminal and insurgent groups displaying the murders of journalists to send a broad message of terror.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

New charges against Ethiopian publications further diminish critical voices

Addis Guday magazine is among the publications charged. (Addis Guday)

Five independent magazines and a weekly newspaper have been charged by Ethiopia's Justice Ministry, a move that may add to the long lists of shuttered publications and Ethiopian journalists in exile. In a press release issued August 4, the ministry accused the journals of publishing false information, inciting violence, and undermining public confidence in the government, news reports said.

The ministry said it pressed charges after running out of patience with the publications for "encouraging radicalism and terrorism." The state broadcaster aired the ministry's announcement, but none of the publications received the charge sheet, local journalists told me. The six independent publications are Afro Times, a weekly newspaper, and magazines Addis Guday, Enku, Fact, Jano, and Lomi. All are popular alternatives to the state-run press, which espouses an increasingly positive narrative. Local journalists and news reports said the charges could be a way for the ruling party to silence critics ahead of elections expected in May 2015.

Blog   |   Kenya, Security

Kenyan journalists, CPJ launch new initiative to improve security

Journalists take copies of the Kenyan security manual. (Zoe Mwende)

Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists in collaboration with local media organizations launched a journalist security guide and protocol designed specifically for the Kenyan press. The initiative stems from research conducted in 2013 by the same group of organizations, the Kenya Media Working Group, in light of acute and unique security challenges for the Kenyan press coming to light that year.

August 18, 2014 5:42 PM ET

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Blog   |   Nigeria

Nigeria regulator gives broadcasters 48-hour directive

Journalists surround a politician at the start of the Osun state governorship election in southwest Nigeria on August 9, 2014. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

Requirements from Nigeria's broadcast regulator that radio and television stations nationwide should give notice of any live transmission of political programs has angered some journalists and raised questions about implementation.

August 12, 2014 1:33 PM ET

Blog   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

As elections approach, fear of more attacks on Congolese press

Map by Rachael Levy. Sources: Congolese organizations, news reports, and CPJ research. Not all data has been independently verified by CPJ.

Tensions are rising in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a government official announced recently he would support a change in the constitution to allow President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, to run for a third term in 2016. Under the current constitution, Kabila may serve a maximum of two five-year terms.

Blog   |   Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Republic of Congo, Swaziland, USA, Uganda

First US-Africa summit short on press freedom, other human rights

CPJ board member Clarence Page, right, speaks  at a panel Wednesday organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in partnership with CPJ in Washington, D.C. (CPJ/Rachael Levy)

Top African and U.S. leaders are meeting next week in Washington in a first-of-its-kind summit focused on African development. But critics argue the summit is flawed in design, overlooking human rights such as freedom of expression and barring civil society actors from bilateral discussions.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Internet, Russia, Security, Thailand, Turkey, USA

No press freedom without Internet freedom

Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism.

"Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers."

But the Internet is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.

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