Thursday marks one year since two gunmen burst into the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and opened fire. Over the following year, CPJ documented the deaths of 28 journalists who were killed for their work by Islamic militant groups such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. This StoryMap charts the deadly attacks that took place in eight countries in 2015.
The Committee to Protect Journalists alongside 19 Nigerian, African and international organisations today signed an open letter addressed to the upper chamber of Nigeria's parliament calling for the rejection of a bill which would undermine press freedom, stifle public opinion, and criminalize freedom of expression in Nigeria.
Elections in Tanzania passed smoothly in October, but several local journalists and a media lawyer told me the spectre of anti-press laws is casting a pall over critical reporting in the country and that hopes for legal reform under the newly elected President John Pombe Magufuli remain muted.
On Friday the Zone 9 bloggers are due to appear in court in Ethiopia for the 39th time since their arrest in April 2014. Endalk Chala, a co-founder of the group which is being honored with an International Press Freedom Award from CPJ this year, provides an overview of the drawn out trial and finds that despite the delays and setbacks, support for the bloggers is unwavering.
Radio Resistance was a pirate radio station born out of necessity. During Burkina Faso's short-lived military coup last month, in which many local radio stations were forced off air, it kept citizens informed and gave them the courage to stand up against the attempted takeover, Burkinabe journalists said.
Freelance journalist Peter Julius Moi used to ride a motorbike without wearing a helmet, despite warnings from one of his colleagues to be more careful. Moi would just shrug off those concerns, saying that as a South Sudanese journalist "risk was simply part of life." Last month, the reporter was shot dead as he walked home from work.
On June 24, a grenade was thrown through the window of Voice of America correspondent Diane Nininahazwe's home. It was one of three cases CPJ has documented in recent months where grenades were thrown into the homes of journalists in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities, but there have also been no arrests.
The Committee to Protect Journalists and 18 other organizations are urging Burundi authorities to investigate attacks on journalists and human rights defenders. Since the April announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term, defying constitutional limitations and sparking months of protests, journalists have been routinely targeted. At least five radio stations were attacked and their staff threatened, inducing a mass exodus of journalists fleeing the country and leaving an information vacuum at a critical juncture. In presidential elections in mid-July, Nkurunziza won nearly 70 percent of the vote.
President Barack Obama is expected to address a range of topics when he arrives in Kenya tomorrow. The Kenyan government says it plans to discuss security and trade, while opposition parties and civil society want good governance and human rights added to the agenda, according to news reports. We hope the discussion includes the commitments to improve press freedom that the Kenyan government made to CPJ last week.
On July 15, we released our special report, "Broken Promises: How Kenya is failing to uphold its commitment to a free press," in Nairobi to a room full of more than 50 Kenyan and foreign journalists. The report found that a combination of legal and physical harassment, as well as concentration in media ownership, is making it increasingly difficult for journalists to work freely in Kenya.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.