CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Peter Nkanga

Peter Nkanga, an independent bilingual investigative journalist based in Abuja, Nigeria, is CPJ's West Africa representative. Peter specializes in human rights and advocacy reporting.

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   |   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   |   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   |   Nigeria

Nigeria targets independent newspapers

Nigerian authorities have been waging widespread attacks on nearly a dozen independent newspapers under the cover of fighting terrorism. By last weekend, no fewer than 10 newspapers had their operations nationwide disrupted, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of newspaper sales.

Blog   |   Nigeria

Journalists targeted by both sides in Nigeria's war on terror

The struggle between Nigerian authorities and militant extremist group Boko Haram was recently thrust into the global spotlight with the abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls, but journalists in the country have been squeezed between the two sides for years.

Blog   |   Internet, Nigeria

Attacks on critical Nigerian website highlight vulnerability

For two months, editors were blocked from posting Premium Times' links on the outlet's Facebook page. (Facebook)

Turkey's prime minister made headlines last week by threatening to block Facebook in the country, but as recent events in Nigeria show, a more discreet intervention can be effective in disrupting the free flow of information. 

Blog   |   Liberia

Liberian press boycotts Sirleaf over aide's comments

Liberian newspapers protest threatening remarks by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's security chief. (Wade Williams/FrontPage Africa)

Most governments, even repressive ones, at least give lip service to supporting freedom of the press--especially on World Press Freedom Day, May 3. But in Liberia this month, Othello Daniel Warrick, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's chief security aide, shocked local journalists by threatening them and calling them "terrorists" at a public event to mark the occasion, according to news reports and local media groups.

Blog   |   Nigeria

Nigeria's impunity ranking: The facts don't lie

Nigeria's press freedom record is on the decline.

For the first time since 2008, when CPJ began publishing its annual Impunity Index, Nigeria has made the list of the "worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press."

Blog   |   Mali

In Mali, one journalist's detention ignites press revolution

News stands in Mali are empty as journalists strike. (news.abamako.com)

Mali's press has endured one attack too many.

Since the coup d'état of March 22, 2012, CPJ has documented a staggering 62 anti-press violations across Mali. Journalists and media houses have become ready targets of attacks, threats, intimidation, assassination attempts, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and censorship by separatist and Islamist militant groups and government security forces alike. 

March 14, 2013 5:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Nigeria

Nigerian journalist wins landmark court victory

(Desmond Utomwen)

"If a journalist can't fight for his own right, then he has no responsibility to fight for others," Desmond Utomwen, a senior correspondent with TheNews Magazine/PM News, told me after a High Court judge on October 4 awarded him 100 million naira (US$637,000) in special damages from the Nigeria Police Force and Guarantee Trust Bank Plc.

Utomwen's victory represents the largest award for any journalist in Nigeria's 52-year history as an independent nation and sets a clear precedent for the country's beleaguered press.

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