Alerts   |   Uganda

CPJ calls on Uganda to protect journalist shot by soldiers

New York, February 23, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the shooting of a freelance journalist by Ugandan soldiers on February 18, the day of parliamentary and presidential elections. Soldiers shot and injured freelance journalist Julius Odeke near Bugusege, eastern Uganda. 

February 23, 2011 2:55 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, police harass pro-Ouattara editors

Headlines of pro-opposition Ivorian papers. (AFP)

New York, February 18, 2011--Ivorian police in the economic capital, Abidjan, interrogated and issued summonses for questioning this week for editors of newspapers favorable to former presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara, according to local journalists. The U.N. has recognized Ouattara as the president-elect since disputed November 2010 runoff elections against President Laurent Gbagbo.

Attacks on the Press   |   Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Africa Analysis

Across Continent, Governments Criminalize
Investigative Reporting

Ivory Coast's President and 2010 presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo talks to the press. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

By Mohamed Keita

Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.

Attacks on the Press   |   Angola

Attacks on the Press 2010: Angola

Top Developments
• Legislation criminalizes coverage that insults president, state institutions.
• Three top papers purchased by mysterious corporation. Coverage grows timid.

Key Statistic
2: Journalists killed in 2010, one a Togolese sports reporter, killed in soccer team ambush.

President José Eduardo dos Santos led one of the world's fastest-growing economies, but he faced criticism over social inequalities, corruption, and press freedom violations. Capitalizing on booming oil production and diamond mining, his government invested a reported US$1 billion to host the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in January. But the soccer tournament, which the government saw as an opportunity to enhance its international image, was marred when separatist guerrillas ambushed the Togolese national team, killing two people, including a journalist, and exposing the precarious security situation in the restive enclave of Cabinda. Dos Santos, in power since 1979, and his ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) sought to tamp down on independent reporting of the ambush. By mid-year, a corporate entity whose principals were not disclosed had purchased three of the country's leading independent newspapers and toned down their coverage.

February 15, 2011 12:49 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Cameroon

Attacks on the Press 2010: Cameroon

Top Developments
• Authorities unleash reprisals when journalists question oil company deal.
• Nation mourns the death of pioneering journalist Pius Njawé.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists jailed for leaked document. One dies in custody, a second alleges he was tortured.

When four newspaper journalists jointly sent questions to a top presidential adviser in late 2009, they hoped to learn more about alleged misuse of state oil company funds. Instead, they set off virulent government reprisals beginning in February that left one editor dead, another alleging he was tortured in state custody, and two others imprisoned for nine months. The case, the worst press freedom abuse in Cameroon in at least a decade, highlighted the brutal intimidation meted out by powerful public figures against journalists scrutinizing their activities.

February 15, 2011 12:42 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attacks on the Press 2010: Democratic Republic of Congo

Top Developments
• Government arrests several journalists on defamation charges.
• Journalists fear repression as 2011 presidential election approaches.

Key Statistic
2: Weeks that reporter Tumba Lumembu was held incommunicado by intelligence agents.

On the defensive over criticism of its human rights record and its handling of the conflict with rebels in eastern Congo, President Joseph Kabila's government censored news coverage and detained several journalists during the year.

February 15, 2011 12:38 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ethiopia

Top Developments
• Editor Dawit Kebede honored with International Press Freedom Award.
• Authorities jail critical journalists, jam VOA Amharic broadcasts.

Key Statistic
7: Hours that two newspaper editors were interrogated as Zenawi gave speech on freedom of choice.

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, imprisoned journalists, jammed foreign broadcasters, and blocked websites as it swept general elections in May. The government-controlled National Electoral Board declared the EPRDF-led coalition of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in power since 1991, the winner in all but two of 547 contested parliamentary seats, prompting opposition allegations of voter intimidation and ballot-rigging, as well as U.S. and European Union criticism. Zenawi won another five-year term as his government dismissed criticism of the vote as a smear campaign. Opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa was kept in prison until October.

February 15, 2011 12:35 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Nigeria

Attacks on the Press 2010: Nigeria

Top Developments
• Two journalists murdered, another assaulted in ethnic violence.
Secrecy surrounds death of President Yar'Adua.

Key Statistic
7: Journalists kidnapped in restive southern region. All are freed.

Official secrecy surrounded the heart ailment that eventually claimed the life of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, sparking a debate over what constituted public information. Nigeria celebrated 50 years of nationhood, but its celebration was marred by a deadly bombing for which a Niger Delta militant group claimed responsibility. Amid a climate of ethnic and political violence, exacerbated by widespread impunity, at least two journalists were killed in direct relation to their work, while a third was slain under unclear circumstances. Another seven journalists and a media support worker were briefly kidnapped in two separate cases in the volatile oil-rich southern region.

February 15, 2011 12:22 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Rwanda

Attacks on the Press 2010: Rwanda

Top Developments
• Government drives Kinyarwanda- language papers out of print before presidential vote.
• Critical newspaper editor assassinated. Skepticism greets police investigation.

Key Statistic
93: Percentage of vote taken by incumbent Paul Kagame in presidential election. He faced no credible opposition.

Before a crowd of thousands in Kigali, just days before he was re-elected in August in a virtually uncontested race, President Paul Kagame declared that "those who give our country a bad image can take a rope and hang themselves," the BBC reported. Kagame's antagonism toward critics guided his administration's approach to the press throughout the election year. The government shut the nation's two leading independent weeklies in April, silenced several other news outlets in the weeks before the vote, and harassed critical editors in court. In the most startling development, the acting editor of the independent weekly Umuvugizi, Jean-Léonard Rugambage, was gunned down outside his Kigali home in what appeared to be a planned assassination. Police immediately labeled the killing a reprisal for the editor's supposed involvement in the 1994 genocide, a conclusion that was greeted with deep skepticism from journalists.

February 15, 2011 12:18 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Somalia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Somalia

Top Developments
• Africa's most dangerous country for the press. Two journalists killed in 2010.
• Al-Shabaab shuts downs, seizes control of major radio stations.

Key Statistic
59: Somali journalists in exile, the second largest press diaspora in the world. Ethiopians constitute the largest.

Somalia remained Africa's most dangerous country for the press. Two journalists were killed during the year in direct relation to their work, bringing the death toll to 23 since 2005. The conflict between Islamic insurgent groups and a weak Transitional Federal Government backed by African Union troops continued to fuel a steady exodus of journalists seeking to escape deadly violence, severe censorship, and harassment. CPJ's 2010 analysis of exiled journalists, published in June, found that at least 16 journalists had fled the country in the prior 12 months, with 59 having gone into exile over the past decade. Remaining journalists practiced extreme self-censorship to survive.

February 15, 2011 12:16 AM ET


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