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Africa

Blog   |   Togo

Togo journalists protest purported security threats

Togolese journalists at Saturday's protest. (Sylvio Combey)

Dozens of Togolese journalists marched in the capital, Lomé, on Saturday to call attention to reported allegations that government security agents planned to retaliate against critical reporters. The allegations themselves are in dispute--the government called them "fabricated"--but they are set against a recent U.N. report expressing concern over the official use of arbitrary detention and the alleged use of torture.

Blog   |   Rwanda

Rwandan paper calls president a 'sociopath', apologizes

(Izuba)

Sometimes when a paper produces a defamatory piece, an apology will be published on page two in the next edition along with the day's news. In Rwanda, it would appear, a paper will use an entire edition to apologize--if the insults were directed at the president. The latest issue of Ishema, at left, is perhaps a sign of the times for Rwanda's press.

The vernacular bimonthly had recently published an opinion piece written under the byline "Kamikaze" that claimed President Kagame was a sociopath. Many within the media community protested, as did Adrien Servumba, who, branding himself "a concerned citizen," called on the state-run media ombudsman to reprimand the managing director, Fidele Gakire, the state news agency reported. On July 25, the agency reported that men in plainclothes seized copies of the paper from vendors. The same day, members of the Forum of Private Newspapers, an organization of newspaper owners, suspended Gakire from the group for six months. 

Blog   |   Eritrea

Habeas corpus writ seeks Dawit Isaac, jailed for 3,600 days

Journalist Dawit Isaac, co-founder of Eritrea's now-defunct leading newspaper Setit, has spent nearly 10 years in one of the reclusive Red Sea nation's secret prisons with no charges ever placed against him. Isaac's location and health status are currently unknown, as are those of at least 16 other journalists who CPJ believes are also being held incommunicado in the country.

August 3, 2011 12:06 PM ET

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Blog   |   Senegal

Journalists 'rebel' at Senegal's state broadcaster

RTS journalists protest on July 21. (Sud)

The Senegalese state-controlled radio and TV Corporation, Radio Télévision Sénégalaise (RTS), is experiencing an internal struggle for editorial freedom as Senegal moves toward a presidential election on February 26, 2012. 

July 29, 2011 3:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Guinea

Guinea's censorship order puts RFI in difficult spot

AFP

On Monday, Guinea's state-controlled media regulatory agency imposed a "temporary" ban on media coverage of the July 19 attack on the private residence of President Alpha Condé, silencing private radio and television talk programs in which critical questions were being raised about the episode. In such circumstances, Guinean listeners turn to foreign media outlets such as France's state-funded international broadcaster, Radio France Internationale (RFI), the most popular station in Francophone Africa. With programs such as "Appels Sur L'actualité," a daily news call-in show, RFI is considered by millions of African listeners to be an essential source of news and information. 

July 28, 2011 6:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Terrorists? A look at two jailed Ethiopian journalists

At the end of June, Ethiopia's Anti-Terror Task Force arrested nine people on charges of attempting to "destroy electrical and telecommunication infrastructures" with support from Ethiopia's arch-enemy, Eritrea. Held under Ethiopia's far-reaching antiterrorism law, only four of the suspects' names have so far been revealed and two of them happen to be journalists

July 20, 2011 3:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

UNHCHR grills Ethiopia on anti-terror law

Ethiopian officials were defiant in the face of U.N. questioning (UN)

This week, the Human Rights Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reviewed Ethiopia's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including its press freedom record. Peppered with questions about an indefensible record of abuse--jailing the second largest number of journalists in Africa and leading the continent in Internet censorship--representatives of the Ethiopian government responded with cursory talking points and bold denials in contradiction of the facts.

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenya's quiet information revolution

Kenya's new government database.

An information revolution is quietly unfolding in Kenya, potentially allowing the public greater access to government data and independent local news. This month, the nation became a regional leader in open government with the launch of a website providing easy access to volumes of public information. Journalists can tap into public budget data with relative ease through the government portal. 

July 15, 2011 2:18 PM ET

Blog   |   Liberia

In Liberia, silencing press critics through libel lawsuits

A man in Liberia holds a sign in support of Rodney Sieh, whose newspaper was found guilty of libel. (Aaron Leaf)

During Liberia's 14-year civil war, the press was silenced through violence. Journalists now say they are the victims of a more subtle assault. They say a corrupt judiciary and a vindictive use of libel suits are a threat to an otherwise burgeoning free press. 

July 12, 2011 12:15 PM ET

Blog   |   Nigeria

Nigeria's new FOI law brings celebration, challenges

President Goodluck Jonathan signed a public information bill long in the making. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

There is a deserved celebration in the Nigerian media over the recently passed Freedom of Information Act, which provides citizens with broad access to public records and information held by a public official or institution.  It is the climax of an 11-year struggle to pass such a law in the Nigerian parliament. Indeed, the call for such a law was first made under military rule, in 1993, when the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Civil Liberties Organisation, and the Media Rights Agenda began to clamor for it.

July 7, 2011 2:05 PM ET

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