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Blog   |   Eritrea

Where is Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu?

Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed (Somali Mirror)

Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed, government spokesman and censor-in-chief of the Red Sea nation, has been invisible in the past few weeks. The total absence of any independent press in Eritrea has allowed the government to maintain complete silence in the face of mounting questions and surging Internet rumors of his defection.

It was on November 17 that U.K.-based Eritrean opposition news website Assena first reported, citing unnamed sources, that Ali had sought asylum in Canada. Ten days later, Madote, a pro-government site, dismissed the Assena report and claimed, citing unnamed witnesses who reported by phone, that Ali was "seen walking in the capital and discussing with citizens."

December 27, 2012 4:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Djibouti

In Djibouti, journalist defiant despite revolving jail door

Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh addresses the media after his re-election in April 2011. (AP)

Online journalist Houssein Ahmed Farah spent more than three months in jail in Djibouti before an appeals court finally released him in November--after his defense requested bail three times, Houssein said. His crime? Officially nothing. "It appears to have been an arbitrary arrest because there is still no evidence on file," Houssein told me. He said he was accused of distributing identity cards for the opposition, but he has not been charged with a crime.

December 27, 2012 11:53 AM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya, Somalia

Somalis in Kenya hounded by security forces, refugee policy

Somali refugees in Kenya are ordered to report to the Dadaab refugee camp, which already holds more than 450,000 people. (Mohamed Abdi)

Exiled Somali journalists living in Nairobi were struck with disbelief this week when daily newspapers published a statement by the Department of Refugee Affairs ordering all Somali refugees to move to refugee camps. "The refugees, particularly those living in urban centers, are contributing to insecurity in the country," the statement read. The acting commissioner for refugee affairs, Badu Katelo, said aid agencies including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) must stop providing aid to those outside the camps. 

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Members of European Parliament call to free Eskinder

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session in Strasbourg, France, on June 13, 2012. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

On December 18, 16 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) wrote an open letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn calling for the immediate release of the independent journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who was condemned in July to 18 years in prison under the country's tough 2009 anti-terrorism legislation.

December 19, 2012 6:35 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

Worrying trends at South Africa's public broadcaster

SABC acting Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng answers questions about censorship at the broadcaster on December 6. (Madelene Cronjé/MG)

South Africa is in the midst of one of its most important political events--the ruling African National Congress's Mangaung elective conference, which takes place once every five years to shape policy and elect new leadership.  Because of the power of the ANC as South Africa's leading political party, the conference holds not only the future of the party in its hands, but also the future of South Africa.


Blog   |   Iraq, Security, Somalia, Syria

Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists

Ambulances carry the bodies of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, who were killed in government shelling in Syria. (Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri)

Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Journalists still murdered where impunity reigns

(AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the suspected source of fire. There has been no justice in a single one of these deaths.

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

More can be done to get justice for Deyda Hydara

Deyda Hydara and his wife Maria circa 1989 (Hydara family)

In the eight years since unidentified assailants shot and killed Deyda Hydara of the Gambia, no one has been held to account. The late 2004 murder of Hydara, an immensely respected editor, columnist, and press freedom advocate known for his criticism of President Yahya Jammeh's repressive media policies, became a rallying point for Gambian journalists and the human rights community--a symbol of the violent means by which activists and journalists are silenced and of the impunity that envelops acts of intimidation, ranging from arson to torture and murder. 

December 17, 2012 1:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

In Internet freedom fight, why the ITU matters (for now)

Hamdoun Toure, ITU secretary general, speaks at the group's conference in Dubai. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

For most of its almost-150-year history, the meetings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' communications standards body, have been rather predictable affairs.

December 14, 2012 12:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Sri Lanka

Integrity vs. authenticity in video journalism

A still from the video showing a Sri Lankan soldier about to execute a prisoner. (AFP/Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka)

Back in November 2010, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a leaked video that appears to show men in Sri Lankan military uniforms executing bound prisoners, the camera panning across a series of bodies laid out in a ditch. Family and friends identified one of those bodies as that of Tamil Tiger TV newscaster Shoba, also known as Isaipriya. If authenticated, the video could constitute evidence that Isaipriya was murdered. It would be one step toward accountability in a long string of unsolved murders of journalists in Sri Lanka. It would also be evidence of war crimes that are said to have been committed during the final phases of the 27-year civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE. But disputes have ensued between the United Nations, which claims the video is authentic, and the Sri Lankan government, which claims that it is fake.

2012

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