Attacks on the Press   |   Cameroon

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Cameroon

Cameroon’s diverse news media, among the most vibrant in Africa, operated under significant pressure. Influential political leaders used threats, regulatory action, and judicial harassment to censor critical coverage of national affairs, including a controversial constitutional amendment allowing President Paul Biya to seek re-election in 2011, public protests over inflation, and a series of high-profile corruption cases.

February 10, 2009 12:43 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Two years after transitioning to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the most perilous countries in Africa for journalists. For the fourth consecutive year, a journalist was murdered in unclear circumstances, this time in the unstable, strife-torn east of the country.

February 10, 2009 12:39 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Ethiopia

The small vanguard of independent media that emerged from a brutal 2005 crackdown struggled in the face of continuing government harassment. Although authorities issued licenses allowing a handful of independent political newspapers to operate, they continued to use imprisonment, threats, and legal and administrative restrictions to suppress coverage of sensitive issues.

February 10, 2009 12:36 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Kenya

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Kenya

Bracketed by profound attacks on the press, a tumultuous 2008 threatened the country’s standing as a regional leader in free expression. A repressive media bill sailed through parliament in December and was signed into law by President Mwai Kibaki as 2009 began. Enacted over the protests of local and international media groups, the measure provides the government with sweeping censorship powers. The information minister and a newly established communication commission were given broad authority to regulate broadcast content and scheduling. The law retains provisions allowing the internal security minister to raid media houses and confiscate equipment in the name of national security.

February 10, 2009 12:27 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Niger

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Niger

With a simmering insurgency in the north, a split within the ruling government, and talk of a constitutional amendment to allow President Mamadou Tandja to run for a third term in 2009, authorities increasingly tightened restrictions on the press. The high-profile imprisonment of Moussa Kaka, a reporter well known for his coverage of the insurgency, illustrated tensions between the government and the press.

February 10, 2009 12:20 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Rwanda

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Rwanda

On paper, Rwanda had more private newspapers and radio stations than at any point in its history. In practice, independent news coverage was minimal due to business woes and government intimidation. One critical editor was forced to flee the country, and a second was deported. Legislation pending in late year would stiffen accreditation requirements and force journalists to reveal sources in court.

February 10, 2009 12:16 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Senegal

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Senegal

Conditions deteriorated in Senegal, once considered a haven for press freedom. With contemptuous rhetoric, threats, physical violence, and criminal prosecutions, supporters of President Abdoulaye Wade and members of his government retaliated against critical journalists. The June 21 beating of two sports journalists covering a World Cup qualifying match in Dakar symbolized the tensions and ignited a contentious national debate over press freedom.

February 10, 2009 12:15 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Somalia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Somalia

Anarchic violence gripped a nation sadly accustomed to chaos and suffering as a weak federal government sought to fend off insurgencies in the south and central parts of the country. Two reporters were killed in the southern port city of Kismayo in 2008, continuing a national pattern of violence against the press that has claimed the lives of nine journalists in two years. At least 21 Somali reporters have gone into exile, according to CPJ data, although the National Union of Somali Journalists estimates that dozens more have fled their homes in fear of reprisals. The risks grew deeper still in 2008 with two kidnappings involving five journalists, three of whom were still being held for ransom in late year.

Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uganda

Government security forces intimidated and harassed critical journalists, particularly political commentators on the country’s many popular radio talk shows. Criminal defamation and sedition laws were the main weapons in the government’s legal attacks on the press, although a case pending before the Supreme Court held some promise that the laws might be declared unconstitutional.

February 10, 2009 12:07 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, startled by balloting that threatened their 28-year rule, unleashed a brutal crackdown on opposition supporters and the press. Veteran journalist Geoff Hill described the weeks between the first round of voting in March and a runoff in June as “the worst time for journalists in Zimbabwe’s history,” a view expressed by numerous foreign and local reporters.

February 10, 2009 12:01 AM ET



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