Alerts   |   Kenya

Kenyan journalist receives threats for investigating murder

New York, December 22, 2010--A Kenyan journalist whose reporting has helped expose and publicize the unsolved 2009 murder of reporter Francis Nyaruri received two anonymous threatening phone calls on Friday warning he could "share Nyaruri's fate," according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities to thoroughly investigate the threats and provide Sam Owida, a reporter for the private daily Nation, with protection.

December 22, 2010 3:19 PM ET


Alerts   |   Burundi

CPJ meets jailed Burundian journalist, calls for his release

Burundi Tribune
Bujumbura, December 9, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for the release of journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu after visiting him in prison in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. CPJ made the call at a press conference marking the end of a four-day mission to Burundi.

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney and East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes met with Kavumbagu, at left, editor of the French-language news site Net Press, at Mpimba Prison on Wednesday for more than an hour. 
December 9, 2010 1:35 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela

Journalists on the frontlines of press freedom honored

CPJ board member Kati Marton presents a 2010 International Press Freedom Award to Nadira Isayeva. (Getty/Michael Nagle)
New York, November 24, 2010--Outstanding journalists at the forefront of the battle for press freedom in Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela were honored Tuesday evening at the Committee to Protect Journalists' 20th Annual International Press Freedom Awards benefit dinner.

Alerts   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe detains reporter on criminal defamation charges

New York, November, 18, 2010--Reporter Nqobani Ndlovu remained in police custody today despite expectations that he would appear in court on criminal defamation charges, local journalists told CPJ. Police in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, arrested Ndlovu, a reporter for the private weekly Standard, on Wednesday and charged him with criminal defamation in relation to an article concerning the cancellation of police promotion examinations, according to local journalists. 
November 18, 2010 3:06 PM ET


Alerts   |   Somalia

CPJ welcomes release of Puntland journalist

Jama with his two sons. (Horseed Media)

New York, November 8, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the presidential pardon and release today of radio journalist Abdifatah Jama, who was imprisoned in August for airing an interview with an Islamist rebel leader in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. CPJ had repeatedly called for his release.

Jama, deputy director of Horseed Media, had begun serving a six-year prison sentence after being convicted on treason charges in a closed-door trial. Jama had appealed the ruling, which was based on his authorization of an interview with Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom, who has waged a guerrilla war against the Puntland administration since 2005. 

November 8, 2010 6:13 PM ET


Alerts   |   Malawi

Malawi government bans weekly tabloid

New York, November 1, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a government ban on the publication of Malawian weekly tabloid The Weekend Times today. In a letter dated October 28, the National Archives of Malawi issued an immediate suspension of The Weekend Times on charges of failing to register the paper, according to news reports.

November 1, 2010 5:22 PM ET


Alerts   |   Swaziland

Swaziland prime minister threatens to censor columnists

New York, October 22, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a recent statement from Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, announcing his intention to create a law requiring newspaper columnists to seek permission before they write critically about the government.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Attackers lob grenade at Puntland radio station

A grenade blew through the roof of Horseed FM's office in Bossasso. (Horseed FM)

New York, October 19, 2010--A pair of assailants lobbed a grenade Monday evening at Horseed FM, a private radio station broadcasting from the port city of Bossasso, the economic capital of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, according to local reports. After the grenade exploded, one of the attackers began shooting at an adjacent café, Horseed Managing Director Mahad M. Ahmed told CPJ.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Somaliland obstructs UK satellite station

New York, October 7, 2010--Authorities in Somaliland should immediately lift a suspension order imposed against the UK-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The order bars the station's correspondents from reporting in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia, Khadar Mahamed, Universal TV senior newscaster and producer, told CPJ.

October 8, 2010 4:38 PM ET


Alerts   |   Uganda

Second journalist killed in three days in Uganda

New Vision

New York, September 15, 2010--Unidentified assailants beat and killed news presenter Dickson Ssentongo Monday morning on his way to work at Prime Radio in Mukono district, central Uganda. Assailants beat Ssentongo with metal bars and dragged him into a nearby cassava field, local journalists told CPJ. He was the second journalist murdered in three days in Uganda.

September 15, 2010 5:28 PM ET


Alerts   |   Angola

Angolan radio presenter gunned down

New York, September 8, 2010--Following Sunday's murder in Angola of Alberto Graves Chakussanga, a radio journalist with a station critical of the ruling MPLA government, authorities must conduct a thorough and transparent investigation exploring all possible leads and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 
September 8, 2010 5:37 PM ET


Alerts   |   Somalia

In Puntland, radio journalist fatally stabbed

New York, September 1, 2010--Unknown assailants fatally stabbed radio journalist Abdullahi Omar Gedi in the Galkayo district of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, on Tuesday evening. Gedi, 25, had just left work at Radio Daljir when attackers stabbed him repeatedly and left him unconscious, the station's managing partner, Jama Abshir, told CPJ. Gedi died of his injuries in the General Hospital of Galkayo.

September 1, 2010 4:33 PM ET


Alerts   |   Malawi

Malawian president threatens newspaper closings

Mutharika says he will close newspapers that tarnish his government's image. (Reuters)

New York, August 31, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns threatening comments made by President Bingu wa Mutharika against Malawian news outlets last week. Mutharika threatened to close newspapers that report critically about his administration after the private weeklies Malawi News and Weekend Nation cited a regional agency's report forecasting food shortages in the country, local journalists told CPJ.

August 31, 2010 3:15 PM ET


Alerts   |   Somalia

Somali journalist killed in Mogadishu crossfire

SOMEPED New York, August 24, 2010--Veteran radio journalist Barkhat Awale, at left, was killed by crossfire today in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, according to local journalists and news reports. He is the second journalist killed on duty in Somalia this year, according to CPJ research.
Awale, 60, director of the community radio station Hurma Radio, was on the roof of the station assisting a technician in fixing the station's transmitter when a stray bullet hit him in the stomach, local journalists told CPJ. His colleagues rushed him to Madina Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
August 24, 2010 4:33 PM ET


Case   |   Ethiopia

Assault, vandalism reported at Awramba Times

On August 17, 2010, two men barged into the offices of the Awramba Times, the independent Amharic-language weekly in the capital, Addis Ababa, and assaulted Moges Tikuye, a security guard, the paper reported. Tikuye suffered minor injuries. Early the next morning, assailants smashed the windows and doors of the office.

August 19, 2010 3:37 PM ET


Alerts   |   Somalia

Puntland editor jailed after airing rebel leader interview

New York, August 16, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland to immediately release jailed radio journalist Abdifatah Jama, who was sentenced on Saturday to six years in prison on charges related to an interview with Islamic rebel leader Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom.

August 16, 2010 4:10 PM ET


Letters   |   South Africa

In South Africa, legislation would restrict press

Dear President Zuma: We are writing to express our concern about legislative proposals that would severely restrict South Africa's independent press corps, which is distinguished for its dynamism and professionalism. We call on you as the head of state and leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to ensure that such proposals are either amended in line with constitutional safeguards for freedom of the press and access to information, or withdrawn altogether in the interest of preserving the transparency, accountability, and democracy gained after apartheid.

Alerts   |   Uganda

Ugandan online editor accused of sedition

Nairobi, August 4, 2010—Police accused the online editor of The Ugandan Record, Timothy Kalyegira, of sedition Tuesday and searched his house today, Kalyegira told the Committee to Protect Journalists. The Media Offences Department commissioner of police, Simon Kuteesa, interrogated Kalyegira about two online articles that speculated as to whether the Ugandan government were involved in the July 11 bomb attacks in Kampala.
August 4, 2010 4:45 PM ET


Alerts   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese journalist under arrest; stations forced off air

New York, July 28, 2010—Authorities arrested a journalist on Tuesday on criminal defamation charges in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hours earlier, in an unrelated incident, armed men briefly forced the city’s three main opposition broadcasters off the air, according to local journalists and news reports.

Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivorian trio charged; ailing reporter on hunger strike

New York, July 16, 2010—Three journalists were formally charged today after refusing to reveal to Ivory Coast’s state prosecutor their sources for a corruption story based on a document leaked from the prosecutor’s office. The journalists could face up to 10 years in prison.

Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast detains three journalists over sources

Le Nouveau Courrier’s newsroom with a copy of Tuesday's edition. (Le Nouveau Courrier)

New York, July 15, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrest of three journalists in Ivory Coast who have been detained since Tuesday, when they refused to disclose sources for an investigative report detailing the results of a government probe into corruption in the coffee and cocoa export trade, according to local journalists and news reports.

Letters   |   Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Togo

CPJ, African groups call for press freedom commitment

Your Excellencies: As you gather in Paris for festivities that celebrate your nations’ 50 years of independence, we, the undersigned African press freedom advocates petition for your public commitment to a free, vibrant, and self-sustaining press as a cornerstone of the development of francophone Africa in the next five decades.

July 8, 2010 11:20 AM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian newspaper reports tampering of its mail

Tampered mail sent to the Awramba Times.

New York, June 29, 2010—Ethiopia’s postal service should a conduct thorough and transparent investigation into the tampering of mail addressed to the country’s leading critical newspaper, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Awramba Times Editor-in-Chief Dawit Kebede said the paper has complained to the Ethiopian Postal Service at least three times since June 6 after finding opened and destroyed envelopes in its mailbox inside Teklay Posta Bet, the national postal headquarters in the capital, Addis Ababa. 

June 29, 2010 4:21 PM ET


Alerts   |   Rwanda

Skepticism greets arrests in Rwandan journalist’s murder

New York, June 29, 2010—Authorities in Rwanda announced on Monday the arrest of two individuals in the murder of journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, who was shot late Thursday as he drove through the gate to his home in Kigali, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed skepticism about the arrests and called on authorities to disclose details of their investigation.

June 29, 2010 4:13 PM ET


Alerts   |   Rwanda

Editor of censored Rwandan paper is assassinated

(Jeanne Umwana)New York, June 25, 2010—A top editor of an independent Rwandan newspaper that was recently banned by the government was assassinated in front of his home late Thursday, according to local journalists and news reports. An assailant shot Jean-Léonard Rugambage, left, acting editor of Umuvugizi  as he drove through the gate of his home in the capital, Kigali, around 10 p.m., Rwanda National police spokesperson Eric Kayiranga told CPJ.

June 25, 2010 2:33 PM ET


Alerts   |   Rwanda

Rwanda news Web site blocked after paper suspended

New York, June 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Rwandan authorities today to provide information as to why the Web site of newspaper Umuvugizi is inaccessible in the run-up to August presidential elections. The state-run Rwanda News Agency reported on June 3 that the Web site of Umuvugizi, a leading private paper known for its critical coverage of the government, could not be opened on the networks of the country’s only Internet service providers.

June 11, 2010 4:24 PM ET


Alerts   |   Zambia

Zambia should halt harassment of The Post, M’membe

M’membe, right, outside court. (The Post)

New York, June 3, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda and his administration to halt the ongoing harassment of the nation’s leading independent newspaper The Post and its award-winning editor Fred M’membe. On Tuesday, a magistrate in the capital, Lusaka, convicted M'membe on a criminal charge of contempt of court and scheduled sentencing for Friday, defense lawyer Remmy Mainza told CPJ. M’membe, a 1995 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, could face up to six months in prison, said Mainza. He said the defense would likely appeal the verdict.

Alerts   |   Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Italy, Kuwait, South Africa, Turkey, Venezuela

Israeli forces detain journalists aboard humanitarian flotilla

New York, June 1, 2010--Israel should immediately release the journalists it detained along with hundreds of peace activists on Monday after Israeli forces stormed a convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. According to international news reports and CPJ interviews, Israeli forces arrested at least 20 journalists aboard the humanitarian flotilla; three have since been released.

Alerts   |   Eritrea, USA

Eritrean journalist attacked at public seminar in Houston

New York, May 27, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for a thorough investigation into a May 9 attack on an Eritrean expatriate journalist by supporters of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki at a public event in eastern Texas. The event was advertised locally in printed fliers, and on the pro-government Web site as a “Public Seminar for all Eritreans in Houston and Environs.” Tedros Menghistu Wondefrash, publisher and editor of Selam, a Tigrinyan-language, monthly newsletter printed in Houston, was attacked when he tried to attend, he told CPJ.

May 27, 2010 6:23 PM ET


Alerts   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe allows independent dailies for 1st time in 7 years

New York, May 27, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists hails the Zimbabwe Media Commission’s decision to grant publishing licenses to The Daily News, the long-banned independent newspaper, and a handful of other publications. Commission Chairman Godfrey Majonga announced on Wednesday that the licenses would be issued immediately, marking the first time in nearly seven years that an independent daily will be allowed to print domestically, local journalists told CPJ.

Letters   |   Equatorial Guinea

Press freedom groups ask UNESCO to reject Obiang money

Dear Director-General Bokova: We, the undersigned freedom of expression organizations, join with the Committee to Protect Journalists to express our grave concern regarding the $3 million donation by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang for the administration of an international prize in life sciences. As a leading institution that advocates “empowering people through the free flow of ideas and by access to information and knowledge,” UNESCO should not accept funds from one of Africa’s worst violators of press freedom.

Alerts   |   Madagascar

Soldiers raid Madagascar radio station, assault staff

New York, May 18, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government of Madagascar to investigate a Saturday raid on the opposition radio station Fréquence Plus that resulted in the arrest of an opposition leader while he was on a live radio program, local journalists told CPJ. The soldiers injured three journalists and destroyed the station’s equipment in 67 Hectares, a district in the capital, Antananarivo, before arresting opposition leader Ambroise Ravonison and another on-air guest, Harrison Razafindrakoto, the journalists said.
May 18, 2010 5:41 PM ET


Letters   |   Cameroon

In Cameroon, CPJ seeks untainted inquiry in Ngota death

Dear President Biya: We are alarmed by investigations that appear to be flawed and marred with political interference into the April 22 death in prison of journalist Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota. We hold Cameroon's government responsible for Ngota's death and the well-being of three other journalists in the custody of the administration. We call on you to address these concerns, along with allegations of torture of journalists by a security agency accountable to your office.

May 6, 2010 5:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Cameroon, Somalia

Somali gunmen kill veteran broadcast reporter

New York, May 5, 2010—Three gunmen shot dead veteran broadcast journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey on Tuesday evening as he was returning home from work at the state-run Radio Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. Gunmen abducted Abkey, left, near his residence in Wardhigley, southern Mogadishu, and shot him repeatedly in the head. Local journalists said they suspect Abkey was tortured after finding his body dumped in an alleyway in Wardhigley.
May 5, 2010 4:33 PM ET


Alerts   |   Nigeria

In Nigeria, 4 journalists receive death threats

New York, April 30, 2010Four journalists who covered the recent dismissal of the electoral commission chairman received anonymous death threats via text message on Wednesday, according to CPJ interviews and news reports. The messages, sent from the same number, said the reporters would meet the fate of three slain Nigerian journalists.

April 30, 2010 4:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Two Ethiopian state TV journalists under arrest

New York, April 30, 2010In light of the Ethiopian government’s longstanding practice of jailing journalists on trumped-up criminal charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the detentions last week of two government TV journalists on allegations of misusing state property. CPJ is monitoring the legal proceedings closely.

April 30, 2010 1:22 PM ET


Alerts   |   Nigeria

Three journalists killed in Nigeria

(The Nation)

New York, April 26, 2010—Three Nigerian journalists were killed in two separate incidents over the weekend. Muslim rioters killed two reporters working with a local Christian newspaper on Saturday, according to local journalists and news reports. Also on Saturday, court reporter Edo Sule Ugbagwu, at left, from the private daily The Nation was shot dead at his home by two gunmen, according to local journalists.

Letters   |   Cameroon

Cameroon must investigate jailed editor's death

Dear President Biya: Following Thursday’s death of newspaper editor Germain S. Ngota Ngota, whose health deteriorated while he was incarcerated in Kondengui Prison in the capital, Yaoundé, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on you to launch a public, thorough, and transparent inquiry into the circumstances of his death. We urge you to provide guarantees for the well-being of three other journalists held in Cameroonian prisons and address ongoing abuses—including allegations of state torture—against independent journalists who raise questions about the administration’s performance.

April 25, 2010 4:07 PM ET


Alerts   |   Cameroon

Jailed journalist dies in Cameroon prison

New York, April 22, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by today’s death of newspaper editor Germain S. Ngota Ngota, whose health deteriorated while he was incarcerated in Cameroon. The death certificate for Ngota, editor of the private bimonthly Cameroon Express, determined that the journalist died from a lack of medical attention in Kondengui prison in the capital, Yaoundé, according to editors Hilaire Medjo of the weekly Nouvelle Vision and François Fogno Fotso of the weekly Génération Libre.

April 22, 2010 5:19 PM ET


Alerts   |   Rwanda

Rwanda shuts critical papers in run-up to presidential vote

New York, April 13, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s decision by Rwanda’s Media High Council to suspend two independent weeklies just months prior to presidential elections. At a press conference, attended only by state broadcasters and the pro-government radio station Contact FM, the Media High Council announced an immediate six month suspension of private vernacular weeklies, Umuseso and Umuvugizi.

April 13, 2010 4:39 PM ET


Alerts   |   Somalia

Somali insurgents ban BBC

New York, April 9, 2010—Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia have banned all BBC broadcasts from the areas they control and confiscated the corporation’s FM transmitters and satellite dishes. Local journalists told CPJ that Al-Shabaab issued a statement today announcing the immediate ban, claiming the BBC carried the “agenda of the crusaders” and “opposed an Islamic administration.”
April 9, 2010 3:12 PM ET


Alerts   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

In eastern DRC, soldiers suspected in cameraman’s murder


New York, April 6, 2010—Following Monday’s murder of freelance cameraman Patient Chebeya in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for a renewed commitment from the government to solidly investigate and prosecute those who kill journalists.

Armed men in military uniforms jumped Chebeya, at left, around 10 p.m. as his wife let him in his house in the volatile eastern city of Beni, according to local press freedom group Journaliste En Danger (JED). 

April 6, 2010 5:07 PM ET


Letters   |   Uganda

Ugandan parliament should reject press bill

Dear Mr. Speaker: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the proposed amendment to the 1995 Ugandan Press and Journalist Act, which is expected to be presented before parliament soon. We believe the bill would severely hamper the operations of newspapers and damage the country’s press freedom credentials.

April 5, 2010 11:07 AM ET


Alerts   |   Uganda

At least 5 Ugandan journalists wounded covering protest

New York, March 19, 2010At least five journalists were wounded while covering violent clashes between security personnel and protesters outside the capital, Kampala, on Wednesday. Scores of protestors and mourners came to Kasubi, a Kampala suburb, after a fire of unknown origin destroyed the historically significant royal tombs of the Buganda kingdom on Tuesday.   

Alerts   |   Nigeria

Nigerian reporter assaulted at mass funeral

Mourners in Dogo Nahawa. (Reuters)

New York, March 11, 2010An angry crowd of mourners attending a mass funeral in Dogo Nahawa, central Nigeria, assaulted state radio reporter Murtala Sani on Monday. Sani, a reporter for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, was assigned to cover the funeral of more than 40 people killed during a bloody March 7 attack on four villages in central Nigeria

March 11, 2010 4:52 PM ET


Letters   |   Cameroon

CPJ alarmed by harassment of journalists in Cameroon

Dear President Biya: We are writing to express our alarm at the harassment and abuse of at least a dozen journalists in Cameroon. These reporters each raised questions about your administration’s management of public finances, the progress of an anti-corruption drive dubbed Operation Sparrowhawk, and local government affairs. We call on you to hold members of the administration accountable for using security forces and criminal laws to settle scores with the media. We further urge you to initiate reforms that would refer matters of defamation to civil courts.

Alerts   |   Nigeria

Two sports journalists kidnapped in Nigeria

New York, March 2, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of two sports journalists, one South African and one Nigerian, who were seized by unidentified gunmen in military uniforms on Monday. The gunmen stopped a bus carrying 21 crew members of M-Net’s SuperSport channel, a South African private satellite television station, and took the three journalists hostage, local journalists told CPJ. Another Nigerian journalist was able to escape.

March 2, 2010 5:51 PM ET


Letters   |   Ethiopia

CPJ urges Ethiopia's Zenawi to pursue press reforms

Mr. Prime Minister: We are writing to draw your attention to conditions that undermine press freedom as guaranteed in Article 29 of the Ethiopian Constitution. We would welcome your leadership in furthering reform by working for the repeal of draconian provisions in recent antiterrorism and media legislation.

February 16, 2010 4:43 PM ET


Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2009: Preface

In Tehran, journalists faced vague antistate accusations during mass, televised judicial proceedings. (AP) By Fareed Zakaria

Toward the end of his 118-day ordeal inside Tehran’s Evin prison, Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari had a bizarre exchange with his interrogator. Bahari had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest after Iran’s disputed presidential election in June; he had been subjected to near-daily beatings and interrogation sessions that stretched for hours. But his jailers had not been able to prove their accusation that Bahari was a spy for Western intelligence agencies. So they had an ominous-sounding new charge to levy against him: “media espionage.”

February 16, 2010 12:58 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Rwanda, Somalia, Zimbabwe

In African hot spots, journalists forced into exile

Al-Shabaab militants patrol Mogadishu's Bakara Market, home to several media outlets. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)By Tom Rhodes

High numbers of local journalists have fled several African countries in recent years after being assaulted, threatened, or imprisoned, leaving a deep void in professional reporting. The starkest examples are in the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, where dozens of journalists have been forced into exile. Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and the Gambia have also lost large segments of the local press corps in the face of intimidation and violence.

Attacks on the Press   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attacks on the Press 2009: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Top Developments
• RFI removed from FM frequencies; other stations censored.
• Hundreds march in nine provinces to protest ongoing threats, violence.

Key Statistic
3: Female journalists threatened with “a bullet to the head” after focusing their work on women’s issues.

Authorities censored coverage of armed conflict and human rights violations in the mineral-rich eastern Kivu provinces. Insecurity reigned in the volatile region, despite the presence of the world’s largest U.N. peacekeeping force. Tens of thousands of people continued to die every month from conflict, disease, and famine, while human rights groups detailed pervasive rape and sexual violence. The vast Central African nation remained among the region’s riskiest for journalists three years after it transitioned to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections. Throughout the country, officials harassed and obstructed journalists who criticized local officials.

February 16, 2010 12:40 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Ethiopia

Top Developments
• Terrorism law criminalizes coverage of sensitive topics.
• Broadcasting Authority serves as government censor.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists jailed as of December 1, 2009.

Ahead of national elections scheduled for May 2010, the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) further curtailed the limited freedom of the country’s small number of independent newspapers. The government enacted harsh legislation that criminalized coverage of vaguely defined “terrorist” activities, and used administrative restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and imprisonments to induce self-censorship. In all, four reporters and editors were being held when CPJ conducted its annual census of imprisoned journalists on December 1.

February 16, 2010 12:37 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Gambia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Gambia

Top Developments
•  Hydara murder unsolved; secrecy surrounds Manneh detention.
•  Domestic, international pressure prompts Jammeh to halt crackdown.

Key Statistic
6: Journalists jailed for sedition after saying president’s remarks on Hydara case were insensitive.

Authorities jailed six journalists after their publications said President Yahya Jammeh had been insensitive in televised remarks about the unsolved 2004 murder of prominent Gambian editor Deyda Hydara. The six, convicted in August on baseless charges of sedition, were sentenced to two years in prison but were freed in September after Jammeh, facing considerable domestic and international pressure, issued pardons.

February 16, 2010 12:36 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Madagascar

Attacks on the Press 2009: Madagascar

Top Developments
• Rival leaders use media empires to pursue political goals.
• Partisan attacks target journalists, news outlets.

Key Statistic
1: Journalist killed in 2009, the first Malagasy media fatality ever recorded by CPJ.

Malagasy journalists faced censorship, threats, and arrest as former president Marc Ravalomanana and new head of state Andry Rajoelina used their partisan media empires in a struggle for control of this Indian Ocean island nation. One journalist was killed in the midst of violent unrest.

February 16, 2010 12:28 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Niger

Attacks on the Press 2009: Niger

Top Developments
• Tandja tightens grip on power, media through constitutional changes.
• Journalists reporting on corruption face government reprisals.

Key Statistic
3: Years beyond his elected term that Tandja can serve, according to a constitutional change.

In an audacious bid to maintain power, President Mamadou Tandja pushed through constitutional amendments repealing presidential term limits and tightening his control of the state media regulatory agency. Facing heavy criticism in the run-up to an August referendum on the constitutional changes, the Tandja administration silenced dissent by imprisoning critics, intimidating news media, and issuing an emergency decree dissolving both the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court. Official results showed that the amendments passed with 92 percent approval, but opposition politicians and their supporters had boycotted the vote, which they called a mockery of the constitution.

February 16, 2010 12:23 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Nigeria

Attacks on the Press 2009: Nigeria

Top Developments
• Local operatives of the ruling PDP assault journalists with impunity.
• Editor slain at his home outside Lagos. Wife pledges to continue his work.

Key Statistic
21: National dailies, a number reflecting Nigeria’s robust media climate.

With 21 national dailies, 12 television stations, and several emerging online news sources, Nigeria continued to boast one of the most vibrant news media cultures on the continent. But a series of attacks fanned fears in the press corps and prompted self-censorship.

February 16, 2010 12:22 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Somalia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Somalia

Top Developments
• Al-Shabaab terrorizes media through violence, threats, censorship.
• Many local journalists flee into exile, leaving a void in coverage.

Key Statistic
9: Journalists killed in direct relation to their work in 2009.

Somalia was among the world’s deadliest countries in 2009, surpassing violent hot spots such as Iraq and Pakistan. As conflict continued between the weak Transitional Federal Government and multiple insurgent groups, nine journalists were killed in direct connection to their work, seven of them in the volatile capital, Mogadishu. An exodus of local journalists continued throughout the year, and few international journalists dared travel into the country for firsthand reporting, according to CPJ research. As a result, the amount and quality of news coverage of Somalia’s political and humanitarian crisis suffered greatly, CPJ found.

February 16, 2010 12:16 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press 2009: Uganda

Top Developments
• Reporters attacked, harassed during Kampala unrest.
• Criminal cases pile up as high court considers constitutional challenge.

Key Statistic
22: Criminal cases pending against Andrew Mwenda, a top political editor.

Violent protests broke out in Kampala in September when security forces blocked leaders of the traditional kingdom of the Baganda, Uganda’s largest ethnic group, from visiting Kayunga district for a planned rally, according to local news reports. More than 25 people were killed and 846 people arrested in two days of clashes that underscored political tensions between the government and the kingdom, according to official figures reported in the press.

February 16, 2010 12:11 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Zambia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Zambia

Top Developments
• Ruling party supporters behind assaults against journalists.
• Government wages politicized prosecutions against The Post.

Key Statistic
400: Estimated turnout at a demonstration protesting anti-press attacks.

Press freedom deteriorated in the first full year of Rupiah Banda’s presidency. Tensions mounted between Banda’s government and the leading independent daily The Post. Politicized criminal charges were leveled at Post staff members concerning the circulation of photos that Banda labeled “obscene” but others saw as a shocking look at a government health-care problem. Ruling party supporters were tied to a series of attacks against The Post and other journalists.

February 16, 2010 12:04 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2009: Zimbabwe

Top Developments
• Government fails to implement reforms allowing private media to operate.
• Two international broadcasters allowed to resume operation.

Key Statistic
$32,000: Application and accreditation fees imposed on international journalists.

In a measure of the deplorable state of press freedom in Zimbabwe, a year marked by harassment and obstruction was considered a small step forward. “Journalists continue to be followed, detained, and abducted; phones and e-mail messages are intercepted; the output of news from government reminds one of Radio Moscow during the Soviet era,” Geoff Hill, exiled Zimbabwean journalist and author, told CPJ.

February 16, 2010 12:03 AM ET


Alerts   |   Namibia

Journalist assaulted for his work in Namibia

John Grobler

New York, January 14, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Namibian authorities to thoroughly investigate an alleged attack by four assailants against freelance journalist John Grobler on January 8. Grobler told CPJ that four men attacked him at a bar Friday evening in the capital, Windhoek, cutting his face with a broken glass and kicking him repeatedly in the head. Grobler was taken to MediCity Emergency Clinic, where he was treated and released.

January 14, 2010 4:36 PM ET


Alerts   |   Tanzania

Leading investigative weekly suspended in Tanzania

Kulikoni on a newsstand in Tanzania. (Mbarak Islam)

New York, January 12, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for the suspension of independent weekly Swahili newspaper Kulikoni to be lifted immediately. Information Minister George Mkuchika announced the suspension of the leading investigative weekly on Friday, citing a sales and distribution ban for a period of 90 days beginning January 11, according to local journalists and news reports.

The ruling was linked to a November 27, 2009, story that alleged cheating in the national exams for the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces, the managing editor of Dar-es-Salaam-based KulikoniEvarist Mwitumba, told CPJ. 

January 12, 2010 1:01 PM ET


Alerts   |   Angola, Togo

Togolese journalist killed in Angola attack

A soldier stands guard before an African Nations Cup banner. (AFP)New York, January 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today on Angolan authorities to ensure the safety of sports journalists covering the African Nations Cup following the death of a Togolese sports journalist on Friday. Stanislas Ocloo was gunned down in the attack on Togo’s national soccer team’s bus in the northwestern Angolan enclave of Cabinda. Also killed was assistant coach Hamelet Abulo, according to Angola's official ANGOP news agency. As many as three people were killed and nine injured in the strike, CNN reported today.

January 11, 2010 4:41 PM ET


Letters   |   Somalia

Press under fire in Puntland, CPJ tells leader

Dear Mr President: The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about deteriorating press freedom conditions in Puntland, including detentions, censorship, harassment, and direct attacks by police officers. Many of these disturbing attacks have targeted the U.S. government-funded Voice of America and one of its reporters, although several local reporters say they are seeing an overall pattern of harassment.

January 6, 2010 4:29 PM ET


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