CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Sue Valentine

Sue Valentine, CPJ's Africa program coordinator, has worked as a journalist in print and radio in South Africa since the late 1980s, including at The Star newspaper in Johannesburg and as the executive producer of a national daily current affairs radio show on the SABC, South Africa's public broadcaster.

Blog   |   Zambia

Mission Journal: In Zambia, Sata never fulfilled promise of greater transparency

Taxi drivers read the news of President Michael Sata's death in The Post special edition on October 29, 2014 in Lusaka. (AFP/Chibala Zulu)

"We'll see for ourselves on Friday," was a refrain on the lips of most journalists I met in Lusaka in mid-September, as they speculated on the health of President Michael Sata ahead of their country's opening of parliament, where the leader was due to speak.

Blog   |   South Africa

South Africa's new communications ministry causes concern

South African President Jacob Zuma is sworn in for a second term in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 24. (AP/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Freedom of expression advocates in South Africa are concerned that the new Ministry of Communications, announced by President Jacob Zuma when he unveiled his cabinet on May 25, will compromise the independence of the public broadcaster and serve as a propaganda office.

Blog   |   South Africa

SABC betrays South Africa's young democracy

Supporters of President Jacob Zuma's ruling ANC party cheer at their final election rally in Soweto, May 4. South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

This week, South Africans go to the polls for their fifth democratic elections since 1994, but despite constitutional guarantees of media freedom, the vast majority of South Africans who vote will do so informed only by the positive news and information carried by a public broadcaster widely criticized for its partiality to the ruling party.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Africa's journalists honor jailed editor Woubshet Taye

Woubshet Taye's wife Berhane Tesfaye and their son accepted an award on behalf of the imprisoned journalist. (CPJ/Sue Valentine)

Journalists and media owners across Africa gave Ethiopian journalist Woubshet Taye a standing ovation in Cape Town on Saturday night at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2013, but he wasn't there to see it. Instead his wife and son accepted the Free Press Award on his behalf.

Part of the citation for the award reads: "Ethiopia is a jewel in the African crown for its beauty, its people, its history and, most recently, for its astonishing growth rates. It is the judges' view that journalists like Woubshet Taye and his colleagues Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega should be out of prison and working to build the prosperity and the freedom of a new Ethiopia. The judges make this award in recognition of Mr. Taye's work and in solidarity with his condition."

Blog   |   Zambia

Zambia silences critics with lawsuits, Web blocking

President Michael Sata's mounting attacks on the press have had a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Zambia. (AFP/Simon Maina)

The charges leveled against a Zambian journalist suspected by authorities of being linked to the blocked news website Zambian Watchdog make for interesting reading.

Blog   |   South Africa

SABC keeps lid on 'Project Spear' documentary

AFP

The South African Broadcasting Corporation is in the news for not airing a politically sensitive documentary that details allegations of apartheid-era theft of public funds. The public broadcaster, which had commissioned the film, has also refused to sell the rights back to the filmmaker and has filed a lawsuit demanding she turn over her raw footage and accusing her of breaching copyright by staging private screenings. 

August 2, 2013 2:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Zimbabwe

Q&A: Zenzele Ndebele promotes radio in Zimbabwe

Zenzele Ndebele (Liesl Frankson/Wits Vuvuzela)

With Zimbabwe elections days away, the fight over access to the airwaves has intensified. The media environment has loosened slightly compared with previous years, but most Zimbabweans still lack access to independent sources of news, including radio. One person familiar with obstacles to broadcasting is Zenzele Ndebele, editor of Radio Dialogue, a community radio station based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, founded in 2001.

Blog   |   Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe vote nears, state media drown out others

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace greet party supporters on their arrival at a campaign rally in Chitungiwiza, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday. (AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

When Star-FM launched on June 25, 2012, it was the first time in 30 years that Zimbabweans, who have known no other radio besides the state-controlled Radio Zimbabwe, had the chance to call in to a radio station to express their views. 

Blog   |   Angola

Investigative journalist under threat again in Angola

The Angolan government has brought criminal charges against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais for his book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, published in Portugal in 2011, that documented allegations of homicides, torture, forced displacement of civilian settlements, and intimidation of inhabitants of the diamond-mining areas of the country's Lundas region.

Blog   |   Malawi, South Africa

Photographers attacked: Two weeks in southern Africa

A security officer fires rubber bullets at Star photographer Motshwari Mofokeng. (The Star)

From Cape Town to Lilongwe, four photographers on routine news assignments in major southern Africa cities were assaulted by security officials in the past two weeks. The details differ, but the heavy-handed actions in each case reflect a belief among those responsible for security that they are above the law and not publicly accountable. These recent attacks in southern Africa also highlight a wider phenomenon: Every day, somewhere in the world, news photographers are subjected to physical abuse by security and public officials who wish to suppress or control the powerful message delivered by images.

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