Africa / 2009

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Cameroon

February 10, 2009 12:43 AM ET

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...

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

February 10, 2009 12:39 AM ET

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....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Ethiopia

February 10, 2009 12:36 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Kenya

February 10, 2009 12:27 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Niger

February 10, 2009 12:20 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Rwanda

February 10, 2009 12:16 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Senegal

February 10, 2009 12:15 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Somalia

February 10, 2009 12:13 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uganda

February 10, 2009 12:07 AM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Zimbabwe

February 10, 2009 12:01 AM ET

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...

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