Attacks on the Press   |   South Africa

Attacks on the Press 2010: South Africa

Top Developments
• ANC pushes proposal to create state media tribunal to monitor, sanction press.
• Anti-media rhetoric heats up, tarnishing nation's image as press freedom leader.

Key Statistic
25: Years of imprisonment for disclosing classified information, as proposed in the Protection of Information Bill.

On the defensive about high crime rates and reports of public corruption, the ruling African National Congress pushed back aggressively against a probing news media. As ANC leaders ratcheted up anti-press rhetoric, the government moved ahead with legislative proposals that would monitor and sanction the press, criminalize investigative journalism, and shield public officials from scrutiny. The ANC campaign tarnished the image of Africa's press freedom leader and raised fears that the country could backslide into apartheid-era censorship.

February 15, 2011 12:15 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press 2010: Uganda

Top Developments
• Electronic surveillance measure enacted; may chill news reporting.
• Court strikes down sedition law used against critical journalists.

Key Statistic
5: Journalists assaulted during clashes between security forces and members of the Buganda kingdom.

Authorities harassed and obstructed journalists covering two stories that shook the nation: a fire that destroyed a historic Buganda kingdom site and twin terror bombings in the capital. The press won an important legal victory as the Constitutional Court struck down a criminal sedition statute that had been used to silence critical journalists. But journalists faced new threats as the president signed a sweeping surveillance measure that could chill news reporting, while the administration drafted legislation that could expand regulatory powers over newspapers. Ruling party officials and supporters assaulted journalists covering opposition candidates in local balloting, an ill omen as the country prepared for the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections.

February 15, 2011 12:09 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Zimbabwe

Top Developments
• Press makes incremental gains as five private publication licenses are granted.
• Police, ZANU-PF loyalists harass, assault independent journalists.

Key Statistic
0: Broadcast licenses issued to private outlets since 2001.

Regulators granted five private publishing licenses, the first in seven years, opening a window for press freedom in this long-oppressed nation. But police harassment, regulatory intransigence concerning private broadcast licenses, and the government's unwillingness to pursue legal reforms ensured that the opening remained but a crack.
February 15, 2011 12:02 AM ET

Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast using media regulation to censor critics

Laurent Gbagbo speaks at a news conference at his party headquarters in Abidjan in November. (Reuters/Luc Gnago)New York, February 10, 2011--Incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has moved to silence critical media under the guise of media regulation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today, following a week in which Gbagbo's administration tightened control over the official print media regulatory agency and ordered United Nations-sponsored radio network ONUCI FM off the air.
February 10, 2011 5:54 PM ET


Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivorians detained without charge; torture reported

New York, February 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the well-being of two Ivorian journalists who have been detained without charge for 10 days amid reports that they have been tortured in custody.

Alerts   |   Rwanda

In Rwanda, journalists given 17 and 7 years in prison

New York, February 4, 2011--Harsh prison sentences given to two journalists today under Rwanda's vague and sweeping laws against "genocide ideology" and "divisionism" will have a chilling effect on the Rwandan press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

February 4, 2011 4:26 PM ET


Alerts   |   Malawi

Malawi amendment bans news 'not in public interest'

Mutharika (AFP)

New York, February 1, 2011--An amendment to Malawi's penal code, which became law last week, allows the government to ban any publication deemed contrary to public interest for an unspecified period of time, institutionalizing political censorship of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.  

On January 26, President Bingu wa Mutharika signed into law an amendment to Section 46 of the penal code that gives the information minister unchecked discretion to block a publication he or she deems against the "public interest," according to news reports and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). Previously, Section 46 only prohibited importation of publications considered seditious.

February 1, 2011 4:38 PM ET


Alerts   |   Zambia

Authorities illegally shutter radio station in Zambia

New York, January 27, 2011--Authorities in Zambia's Western Province must immediately allow community station Radio Lyambayi to return to air, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government raided the private broadcaster based in Mongu, about 360 miles (580 kilometers) west of the capital, Lusaka, carting away computers and other broadcasting equipment on January 16, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

January 27, 2011 4:55 PM ET


Alerts   |   Somalia

Somaliland editor sentenced to 3 years in prison

New York, January 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a three-year prison sentence handed to a newspaper editor in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland in connection with a story alleging public corruption. 

January 24, 2011 4:46 PM ET



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