Tom Rhodes/Africa Program Coordinator
Tom Rhodes is CPJ's East Africa representative, based in Nairobi. Rhodes is a founder of southern Sudan’s first independent newspaper. Follow him on Twitter: @africamedia_CPJ
Reluctant activist: A brother’s struggle to free Dawit Isaac
In 2001, Eritrean security forces imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaac along with nine other journalists without trial in September 2001. The arrests effectively shut down the nation’s fledgling independent press and any potential political dissent prior to scheduled December 2001 elections, which were subsequently cancelled. To this day, Dawit is believed to be held incommunicado…
Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release
For more than two years, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and a group of Senate colleagues have been pressing for the release of Gambian journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, left. In July 2006, security agents arrested Manneh at his workplace at the Daily Observer and have since held him incommunicado and without charge. On Thursday, Durbin…
Rwanda’s Kagame tries to link bombs to critical press
Journalists in Kigali are on tenterhooks after President Paul Kagame, left, made new accusations of their supposed involvement in a bomb attack in Rwanda. Just months before Rwanda’s presidential elections, Kigali was recently hit by two grenade attacks that killed two people and injured 30 others, according to news reports.
African journalists face increasing risk for foreign outlets
“I didn’t wear the bulletproof jacket and helmet that Reuters gave me,” explained veteran Somali journalist Sahal Abdulle to a packed crowd at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel for CPJ’s launch of Attacks on the Press. “It didn’t seem right when my colleagues, local journalists, were risking their lives trying to cover the same event.” Abdulle, like…
A new mission for Somalia’s Mustafa Haji Abdinur
January 21 marks Press Day in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to be a journalist. As such, few local journalists find much reason to celebrate. With nine Somali journalists killed in the line of duty last year, numerous local journalists have fled, especially from the restive capital, Mogadishu. “The free media is going…
Journalist killed on a Sunday morning at home in Nigeria
More than two weeks have passed since the cold-blooded killing of Bayo Ohu, assistant news editor and political reporter for the Lagos, Nigeria-based The Guardian. The 45-year-old, soft-spoken workaholic opened the door to his home early on Sunday, September 20, as he prepared for church. According to eyewitnesses and local reports, five gunmen and one female ringleader shot Ohu…
Rwandan minister: ‘It’s OK to be anti-government’
CPJ sat down recently with the Rwandan minister of information, Louise Mushikiwabo, who spoke of several media developments, including a new press law. “I am convinced the new legislation will help professionalize our media—there were many holes in the former law,” she told CPJ. Some, however, do not share her enthusiasm.
Zimbabwe’s glimmer of hope for press freedom
Some Zimbabwean journalists say 2003 was the most repressive year for independent journalists. Others claim it was 2008. But no one is yet claiming it was 2009 after a recent series of positive developments for the country’s media.
In Namibia seal hunt, journalists said to become prey
July marks the start of seal hunting season in Namibia, where hunters will be allowed to kill more than 90,000 seals. British journalist Jim Wickens and South African cameraman Bart Smithers filmed the event near Cape Cross Colony on Thursday morning for a British advocacy organization, Ecostorm. That is, until the journalists became the hunted.
Somali journalists leave profession in fear as another dies
Somali journalists held an emotional press conference in Mogadishu today at the Sahafi Hotel after Sunday’s fatal shooting of the former director of Shabelle Media Network. (Sahafi means “journalist” in Arabic.) Roughly 15 journalists from different news outlets announced they were suspending their work because of security concerns. “We can no longer operate independently and…