Africa / 2011

CPJ Blog

How to survive in Tanzania's press

December 23, 2011 9:39 AM ET

There is one simple rule for survival in Tanzania's media - whether you are an editor, reporter, columnist, printer, or even news vendor: don't be critical. Thanks to repressive laws on Tanzania's books, an article considered libelous by the state can get anyone in trouble, even prominent journalists such as...

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In Nairobi, plans to improve aid to exiled journalists

December 16, 2011 10:25 AM ET

Kassahun Yilma left Ethiopia quickly in December 2009. He didn't have time to save money for the journey, choose a place to go, arrange housing or a job. He left his wife, his mother, his house and all his friends behind. Yilma didn't know what lay ahead. He only knew...

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Pursuing justice for Gambia's Deyda Hydara

December 15, 2011 4:23 PM ET

December 16 will be the seventh anniversary of the killing of Deyda Hydara, the dean of Gambian journalism. It is also the 20th anniversary of the first issue of The Point, the courageously independent-minded daily that Hydara founded and directed for many years. He was murdered in a drive-by...

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Mission Journal: Secrets bill spurs South African press

December 14, 2011 3:41 PM ET

Irrespective of whether South Africa actually implements the most draconian parts of state secrets legislation now under consideration, the media in the continent's most open democracy already feel under threat. The prospect of 25-year jail sentences for journalists publishing "classified" information has galvanized disparate news outlets and journalists groups...

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Awramba Times is latest Ethiopian paper to vanish

December 9, 2011 5:27 PM ET

A couple of weeks ago, newspaper editor Dawit Kebede, an International Press Freedom award winner, fled Ethiopia. Sadly, Dawit's Awramba Times is the latest in a long list of Amharic-language private publications to vanish from the market following the incarceration or flight into exile of their editors....

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Intimidation or imprisonment by 'democratic instruments'

December 8, 2011 12:00 AM ET

Three years ago, I met Minister Bereket Simon at his office at the center of Addis Ababa. I was with my colleague Abiye Teklemariam -- who was recently charged with terrorism, treason and espionage along with five other journalists, including myself....

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The silent funeral of an exiled Rwandan journalist

December 5, 2011 5:15 PM ET

The crime reporter for Uganda's vibrant Daily Monitor, Andrew Bagala, went to an odd funeral over the weekend. Last week, he covered the murder of online journalist Charles Ingabire, 32, who was shot dead in the early hours of Thursday morning by unknown gunmen at a bar in a...

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Solomon Abera, who voiced end of Eritrean free press, dies

December 2, 2011 5:12 PM ET

The name Solomon Abera will forever be etched in the collective memory of Eritrea's press corps. On September 18, 2001, as the world focused its attention on the terrorist attacks on the United States, the government of Eritrea borrowed Abera's voice to sound the death knell, on state-controlled airwaves,...

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Justice pins Gbagbo, but not yet Ouattara's forces

November 30, 2011 5:06 PM ET

This week, former Ivory Coast ruler Laurent Gbagbo was extradited to the Hague to account for alleged human rights violations before the International Criminal Court. Justice appears to be slower in coming to rival fighters loyal to current President Alassane Ouattara. According to CPJ research, Ouattara's forces have been...

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South Sudan journalist speaks out after illegal detention

November 22, 2011 4:32 PM ET

Detained without charge for 18 days, tortured, and released without explanation, South Sudanese journalist Peter Ngor plans to fight back. "I am going to sue them [in] court. What they did to me was completely, utterly wrong," said Ngor, the editor of a new, private, English-language daily called Destiny....

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Ethiopian satirist silently joins ranks of the exiled

November 16, 2011 5:40 PM ET

Newspaper satirist Abebe Tolla, better known as Abé Tokichaw, fled Ethiopia fearing imprisonment in retaliation for critical news commentaries, media reported this week. His exit was overshadowed by the trial of opposition figures and journalists on charges of terrorism. In an interview he gave to U.S.-based Addis Neger Online...

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Defending the middle ground of online journalism

November 14, 2011 6:57 PM ET

It's easy to use polarizing descriptions of online news-gathering. It's the domain of citizen journalists, blogging without pay and institutional support, or it's a sector filled with the digital works of "mainstream media" facing financial worries and struggling to offer employees the protection they once provided. But there is a...

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Glimmer of hope for justice in Kenyan death

November 3, 2011 4:28 PM ET

Slain journalist Francis Nyaruri received threatening calls from a senior policeman shortly before he disappeared and his decapitated body was found in Kodera forest, western Kenya, a court sitting in Kisumu heard today in the presence of two murder suspects and four witnesses....

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U.S. senator again presses Gambia on missing journalist

November 3, 2011 3:55 PM ET

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin sent a letter to Gambia's justice minister, Edward Gomez, renewing his appeal for the release of local journalist Ebrima "Chief" Manneh. Manneh disappeared more than five years ago after security agents seized him at the offices of his newspaper, the Daily Observer....

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Swedish support for jailed colleagues in Ethiopia, Eritrea

October 17, 2011 4:47 PM ET

If you pass by Kronoberg Prison in Sweden's capital, Stockholm, you will see journalists chained to its gates. They have committed no crime. For over a week, journalists have taken turns locking themselves up in front of the prison to raise awareness of the imprisonment of three colleagues held...

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Obiang prize shelved... for now... again

October 5, 2011 9:49 AM ET

UNESCO's executive board Tuesday again deferred action on the life sciences prize named after and funded by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea. The Committee to Protect Journalists joined with other human rights organizations to call on the board to eliminate the prize permanently....

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Obiang prize goes down to the wire

October 3, 2011 10:03 AM ET

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is a stubborn man.  In 2008, the president of Equatorial Guinea made a $3 million donation to UNESCO to underwrite a prize in the life sciences. But a groundswell of opposition from human rights groups, press freedom organizations, and governments appalled by Obiang's record of kleptocracy...

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Burundi media defy censorship order

September 30, 2011 5:40 PM ET

Tensions between the Burundi government and the local press are bound to increase as several media this week defied an order not to investigate or discuss a recent massacre. While officials say the measure is "temporary" and necessary to safeguard national unity and the course of justice, independent journalists...

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UNESCO must reject Obiang prize bid

September 26, 2011 5:29 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined with eight other human rights organizations today in opposing the bid for a UNESCO life sciences prize named after Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. CPJ and other groups have consistently voiced their opposition to this prize, saying that Equatorial Guinea's human rights...

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Eritrea: Let's lift the shroud of 10 years of misery

September 23, 2011 3:57 PM ET

Since Zaid Tewelde's husband, an Eritrean freedom fighter turned playwright and journalist, was arrested in September 2001, she has spent each passing day coping with the burning questions of her two young sons, age 9 and 10, "Where is my dad? When are we going to see him?" And...

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Gambia VP touts tourism, downplays human rights issues

September 21, 2011 3:26 PM ET

The Gambia has an image problem: Dubbed the "Smiling Coast of Africa," it is a tourist destination, but its government has one of the region's worst records of human rights abuses. On Tuesday, at an African tourism promotion event in New York City, Gambian Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy headed a...

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In Ethiopia case, a response to WikiLeaks

September 19, 2011 1:05 PM ET

Last week, we learned that Ethiopian journalist Argaw Ashine was facing possible arrest and needed to flee the country. During a 10-day period in September, he had been summoned three times by Ethiopian authorities and questioned about a reference to him in a cable sent by the U.S. Embassy in...

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When Eritrea shut down the independent press

September 18, 2011 1:16 PM ET

It was September 18, 2001. As usual, I had to do my shift as a news reader on Eritrea's national government-controlled radio station Dimtsi Hafash. It was just minutes before 6:30 a.m. I was almost ready with all of the Tigrinya news material given to me for broadcasting and...

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EU resolution urges Eritrea to free long-jailed journalists

September 16, 2011 5:51 PM ET

Eritrea was on the hot seat Thursday in Strasbourg and Brussels. Ten years after a massive crackdown on dissent in Asmara that included the arrests of 11 independent journalists, European institutions have signalled that they are weary of President Isaias Afeworki's repression. ...

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A quiet victory for The Namibian

September 9, 2011 1:14 PM ET

Namibia's information minister recently announced that a decade-long state advertising boycott of The Namibian, the country's largest daily newspaper, would finally end. An action intended to punish the paper for its independence had failed. It was back in December 2000 that former President Sam Nujoma told his cabinet to...

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Mission Journal: South Sudan's struggle for a free press

September 8, 2011 1:44 PM ET

The former guerrillas of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) fought a 22-year civil war for greater autonomy and civil rights for the southern Sudanese people, culminating in South Sudan's independence this July. But local journalists fear the former rebels turned government officials still harbor a war mentality that...

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DRC journalists urge ruling party to halt abuse

August 29, 2011 3:12 PM ET

An estimated 200 Congolese journalists marched to the National Assembly in Kinshasa on Friday to show their outrage over reports that supporters of incumbent President Joseph Kabila have physically and verbally abused members of the press. ...

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Legal protection falls short for Zimbabwe's Insider

August 24, 2011 2:52 PM ET

The Insider is a political newsletter about Zimbabwe, edited by veteran journalist Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was printed as a 12-page leaflet until 2003, when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to publish with annual subscriptions. Rukuni made the move to the Web, where he continued to archive...

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Evacuating Somali reporters who face unrelenting violence

August 18, 2011 3:00 PM ET

Somalia was among the world's deadliest countries for journalists in 2009, the year I began working with CPJ's Journalist Assistance program. On June 7, two gunmen shot Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe and Ahmed Omar Hashi, the director and news editor of the country's leading independent station, Radio Shabelle. Hirabe died...

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Burundi's journalists and lawyers face intense harassment

August 11, 2011 3:36 PM ET

It's possible that no journalist in the world has received more court summonses in recent weeks than Editor Bob Rugurika of Burundi's Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), a station founded by CPJ award-winner Alexis Sinduhije.On Tuesday, for the fifth time since July 18, Rugurika was interrogated by a magistrate in...

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Togo journalists protest purported security threats

August 9, 2011 2:14 PM ET

Dozens of Togolese journalists marched in the capital, Lomé, on Saturday to call attention to reported allegations that government security agents planned to retaliate against critical reporters. The allegations themselves are in dispute--the government called them "fabricated"--but they are set against a recent U.N. report expressing concern over the...

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Rwandan paper calls president a 'sociopath', apologizes

August 4, 2011 5:35 PM ET

Sometimes when a paper produces a defamatory piece, an apology will be published on page two in the next edition along with the day's news. In Rwanda, it would appear, a paper will use an entire edition to apologize--if the insults were directed at the president. The latest issue...

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Habeas corpus writ seeks Dawit Isaac, jailed for 3,600 days

August 3, 2011 12:06 PM ET

Journalist Dawit Isaac, co-founder of Eritrea's now-defunct leading newspaper Setit, has spent nearly 10 years in one of the reclusive Red Sea nation's secret prisons with no charges ever placed against him. Isaac's location and health status are currently unknown, as are those of at least 16 other journalists...

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Journalists 'rebel' at Senegal's state broadcaster

July 29, 2011 3:23 PM ET

The Senegalese state-controlled radio and TV Corporation, Radio Télévision Sénégalaise (RTS), is experiencing an internal struggle for editorial freedom as Senegal moves toward a presidential election on February 26, 2012. ...

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Guinea's censorship order puts RFI in difficult spot

July 28, 2011 6:01 PM ET

On Monday, Guinea's state-controlled media regulatory agency imposed a "temporary" ban on media coverage of the July 19 attack on the private residence of President Alpha Condé, silencing private radio and television talk programs in which critical questions were being raised about the episode. In such circumstances, Guinean listeners...

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Terrorists? A look at two jailed Ethiopian journalists

July 20, 2011 3:23 PM ET

At the end of June, Ethiopia's Anti-Terror Task Force arrested nine people on charges of attempting to "destroy electrical and telecommunication infrastructures" with support from Ethiopia's arch-enemy, Eritrea. Held under Ethiopia's far-reaching antiterrorism law, only four of the suspects' names have so far been revealed and two of them happen...

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UNHCHR grills Ethiopia on anti-terror law

July 15, 2011 2:32 PM ET

This week, the Human Rights Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reviewed Ethiopia's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including its press freedom record. Peppered with questions about an indefensible record of abuse--jailing the second largest number of journalists in Africa and...

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Kenya's quiet information revolution

July 15, 2011 2:18 PM ET

An information revolution is quietly unfolding in Kenya, potentially allowing the public greater access to government data and independent local news. This month, the nation became a regional leader in open government with the launch of a website providing easy access to volumes of public information. Journalists can tap into...

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In Liberia, silencing press critics through libel lawsuits

July 12, 2011 12:15 PM ET

During Liberia's 14-year civil war, the press was silenced through violence. Journalists now say they are the victims of a more subtle assault. They say a corrupt judiciary and a vindictive use of libel suits are a threat to an otherwise burgeoning free press. ...

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Nigeria's new FOI law brings celebration, challenges

July 7, 2011 2:05 PM ET

There is a deserved celebration in the Nigerian media over the recently passed Freedom of Information Act, which provides citizens with broad access to public records and information held by a public official or institution.  It is the climax of an 11-year struggle to pass such a law in...

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Google+ for journalists at risk

July 1, 2011 2:25 PM ET

When they're creating new features, software designers talk in terms of "use cases." A use case describes steps that future customers might perform with a website. "Starting a group with friends," would be a use case for Facebook. "Buying a book" would be case for Amazon's designers. ...

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Mission Journal: Politics influence justice in Senegal

June 24, 2011 1:52 PM ET

Senegalese journalists say justice is not on their side when they are victims of abuse by powerful officials or security forces. I met recently in Dakar with journalists targeted with criminal acts in apparent reprisal for their work. In these two high-profile cases, CPJ has found evidence of political...

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In Ethiopia, anti-terrorism law chills reporting on security

June 24, 2011 11:02 AM ET

How can an Ethiopian reporter cover the activities of Ethiopia's leading opposition figure, Berhanu Nega, or an attack by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels without risking prosecution and a 20-year prison sentence? Such questions have haunted Ethiopian journalists since a far-reaching anti-terrorism law came into effect in...

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In exile: From a Cameroonian jail to immigration limbo

June 20, 2011 12:01 AM ET

I was arbitrary and unlawfully arrested and detained in a heavily secured military police detention facility in Cameroon for 40 days. I had to bribe my way out of the country to seek sanctuary and protection. Cameroon is a dictatorship dressed up as a fake democracy, with a leader in power...

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CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

June 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the...

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The Internet in East Africa: An aid or a weapon?

June 17, 2011 5:03 PM ET

Frank Nyakairu has seen it all. A veteran war reporter, he has covered the horrors of northern Uganda and Somalia, among others places. And throughout this time of rich but often appalling experiences, he has also seen the auspicious--and sometimes terrifying--impact the Internet has had on East African reporters. Nyakairu...

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Acquitted: A Kenyan journalist struggles to report freely

June 14, 2011 11:02 AM ET

A court in Kisumu, western Kenya, recently acquitted journalist Bernard Okebe, at left, of graft charges after a two and a half year case against him. While the case is finally over, Okebe is still dealing with the fallout of being accused of blackmail.In December 2008, the police chief...

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In journalist security field, maturing and understanding

June 7, 2011 8:57 AM ET

Journalist security is still a maturing field, but news organizations are devoting more attention to preparing their reporters and photographers for the dangers particular to the profession. That means understanding risks that are constantly evolving. The brutal attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan at a Cairo demonstration has drawn...

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Journalist freed in Burundi vows to keep reporting, carefully

May 31, 2011 6:02 PM ET

As recently as April, the state prosecutor in Burundi demanded journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu be put away for life. But just a month later, Africa's only jailed online journalist was a free man. A relentless international campaign by press freedom groups, human rights activists and Western governments had paid off....

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Exiled Somali journalists rally around wounded colleague

May 24, 2011 4:40 PM ET

Hassan Mohamed, nicknamed "Jaeyl" by his colleagues, used to be a jack-of-all-trades for Somalia's first independent broadcaster, HornAfrik. He was a journalist, a producer, and a librarian. He was even a dramatist. His most powerful professional role was keeping HornAfrik running when most senior staff members fled the country,...

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Video: 'Living in silence: Journalists in exile'

May 19, 2011 2:49 PM ET

We write a lot at CPJ about the terrible things that happen to journalists because of their reporting, but we don't often get a chance to show you what happens to them after they are forced to flee their homes and land abroad. This video, about three such journalists, is...

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Rwanda's Kagame and journalist get into Twitter spat

May 16, 2011 2:29 PM ET

President Paul Kagame is a leader who draws sharply divided opinions--praise from some for rebuilding Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and criticism from others over a record of repression of dissent and the press. On Saturday, a tweet critical of Kagame by British columnist Ian Birrell sparked a heated...

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Tribute to Chris Hondros, who ventured far with his torch

April 22, 2011 4:49 PM ET

My dear friend Chris. In the silence, I hear the symphony of memories that was your life as I knew it. I see your waving hand gestures and wry smile as you recount stories whilst we sit together in the tropical Liberian heat discussing everything from classical music to...

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Tim Hetherington: A star inexorably, humbly rising

April 22, 2011 12:35 PM ET

I first met Tim Hetherington in Monrovia in 2005, in the run-up to Liberia's then historic elections, which officially drew the line under the country's 14-year civil war. Tim had already reported from Liberia in the chaotic final stages of that war in 2003, marching for days on end...

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Ugandan media censored over Walk to Work protests

April 19, 2011 4:33 PM ET

Freedom of the press in Uganda hit a new low late last week when the government, in response to a decision by opposition figures to demonstrate against the escalating price of food and fuel by walking to work, banned live coverage of the protests and issued a directive to...

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Veteran Liberian press freedom fighter dies

April 15, 2011 5:14 PM ET

Stanton B. Peabody, a pillar of the press in Liberia and mentor to generations of visiting foreign correspondents, died this week in Monrovia. He was 80. Stanton, affectionately called "Bob Stan" by friends and family, reported through five administrations, a coup that brought an army sergeant to power in...

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Benin journalists protest attacks

April 14, 2011 6:13 PM ET

Six associations of media professionals in Benin rallied Tuesday in Cotonou, the capital, in a protest march against what they called "the barbarity of security forces" against journalists....

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Malawi: A prying press silenced by injunctions

April 11, 2011 5:45 PM ET

In Malawi, where half the population survives on a dollar a day, it proves wise for the political elite to keep their exorbitant wealth hidden from public scrutiny.  That's why they appear to be running to the courthouse to file injunctions to silence the press....

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At NYU, South Africa's Motlanthe defends press policies

March 29, 2011 3:11 PM ET

On Monday, in a public lecture at New York University, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe described as irreversible the democratic gains made since the end of apartheid, including the advancement of press freedom. "We have a constitution which guarantees basic human rights such as freedom of association, freedom...

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A Somali journalist still gets taunting threats in exile

March 25, 2011 4:59 PM ET

It was February 2008 when Bahjo Mohamud Abdi received her first anonymous phone call. It was a man's voice asking her to confirm who she was. Abdi was a presenter and correspondent for the state radio in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Abdi confirmed her identity and thought no...

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Jammeh to news media: I set limits on press freedom

March 23, 2011 12:55 PM ET

Last week, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh participated in a rare meeting with select members of the West African nation's press corps. Jammeh spoke in favor of access to public information. He announced that he would allow The Standard newspaper to resume publication, five months after the National Intelligence Agency...

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In South Africa, threats to press cloud Human Rights Day

March 22, 2011 12:36 PM ET

As South Africa celebrated Human Rights Day on March 21, the country was beset by uncertainty on the fate of media freedom and the ability of the press to report without state interference. ...

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In Ivory Coast, journalists pick sides or flee

March 21, 2011 5:46 PM ET

Reporting on the power struggle in Ivory Coast is increasingly perilous, with journalists facing a climate of threats, intimidation, and attacks that has forced many to choose between adopting partisan coverage or fleeing to safety. "Here, we are in a situation where if you are not with one camp,...

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Killer of DRC technician said to wear police uniform

March 16, 2011 2:18 PM ET

Hardy Kazadi Ilunga was just 21. A technician with the private station Radio-Télévision Mosaïque in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Likasi, he was murdered late Saturday by a gunman apparently wearing a police uniform, according to the Congolese press freedom group OLPA and local journalists. ...

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Fearing Egypt-style revolt, Cameroon bars Twitter service

March 14, 2011 12:56 PM ET

"For security reasons, the government of Cameroon requests the suspension of the Twitter sms integration on the network," announced a March 8 tweet by Bouba Kaélé, marketing manager of the Cameroon unit of South Africa-based telecommunications provider MTN. The announcement has since disappeared from Kaélé's Twitter feed, but was memorialized...

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For Zimbabwean journalist Saize, the absurd is routine

March 14, 2011 10:34 AM ET

For 37-year-old Zimbabwean freelance journalist Sydney Saize, left, enduring arrest and assault has become absurdly routine--and the circumstances routinely absurd. Take his most recent detention, in February. Saize was reporting on a mundane criminal case in Mutare, capital of the diamond-rich Manicaland province, when the story suddenly turned dramatic....

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Bob Stan, Liberia press pioneer, captivates at 80

March 10, 2011 11:04 AM ET

Veteran journalist Stanton B. Peabody, a pioneer of press freedom in Liberia, turned 80 last month. Peabody, known to family and friends as "Bob Stan," is a captivating figure full of wisdom and humor. We talked recently about his journalism career, one that has tracked the blossoming of the...

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Zimbabwe charges 45 with treason for viewing Egypt footage

March 4, 2011 1:56 PM ET

The right to receive and impart information is a fundamental human right enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but in Zimbabwe, watching news of North African and Middle East protests apparently amounts to treason. ...

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Out of Africa: Lucie Umukundwa five years later

March 4, 2011 1:04 PM ET

Five years after helping her leave her region due to threats, CPJ catches up with Rwandan journalist Lucie Umukundwa to learn more about her struggles to resettle in another continent, regain a foothold in journalism and continue to make an impact in Africa....

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Sub-Saharan Africa censors Mideast protests

February 18, 2011 4:08 PM ET

As news of Middle Eastern and North African protests swirl around the globe, satellite television and the Internet prove vital sources of information for Africans as governments fearful of an informed citizenry and a free press such as in Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, and Zimbabwe impose total news blackouts on...

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Documenting sexual violence against journalists

February 16, 2011 3:46 PM ET

The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our...

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CPJ calls on Uganda's Museveni to respect press freedom

February 16, 2011 3:26 PM ET

In partnership with the Ugandan Human Rights Network for Journalists, CPJ has written a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni asking him to respect press freedom and end a wave of attacks against journalists in the run-up to the February 18 general elections. At least 10 journalists have been...

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Nairobi Attacks launch probes investigative reporting

February 15, 2011 3:01 PM ET

At CPJ's book launch of our annual survey of press freedom conditions across the world, Attacks on the Press, today in Nairobi, we focused on the growing theme of challenges to investigative journalism in Africa, with a particular look at East Africa. The subject certainly resonated with the local...

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As Uganda election nears, fear among reporters

February 11, 2011 4:29 PM ET

As Ugandan journalists prepare to cover presidential elections on February 18 amid political tensions and security concerns, uncertainty and fear are on the minds of reporters. That's particularly so after a year in which 52 press freedom abuses--ranging from physical and verbal intimidation to state censorship and murder--were recorded,...

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Mauritius no heaven for news media

February 4, 2011 1:01 PM ET

American author Mark Twain once quoted a Mauritian as saying that heaven was copied after this Indian Ocean island paradise. Mauritius is cited today as one of the few havens of press freedom in Africa, but for Raj Meetarbhan, left, editor-in-chief of the island's largest newspaper L'Express, the country...

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In Gabon, faux news draws real censorship

February 1, 2011 11:18 AM ET

Last week, Gabon's government-controlled National Communications Council ordered the TV station of opposition leader André Mba Obame off the air for a period of three months. The ruling is without appeal and, typically, this is how authorities in this oil-rich equatorial African state silence critical news outlets. Except that, this...

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With abysmal press freedom record, Obiang takes AU chair

January 31, 2011 5:46 PM ET

The African Union announced on Sunday that the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, will become the new chairman in the union's yearly rotating leadership. The first debate Obiang (at left) presided over at the two-day AU conference that ends today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, concerned "shared values"--highlighting issues...

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In South Africa, judge orders probe into censorship at SABC

January 28, 2011 4:37 PM ET

In South Africa, a judge this week ordered an official investigation into allegations that a former news executive for national public broadcaster SABC had muted critical voices and skewed coverage of major events--like the aftermath of Zimbabwe's 2005 election in favor of the ruling party. The ruling comes amid...

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Liberian saga: angry court, jailed editor, president's speech

January 27, 2011 12:31 PM ET

On Monday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will contest for a second term in elections next November, used her annual speech to the legislature to strengthen her image as the candidate of stability and growth. Among other things, she boasted about winning the "Friend of the Media" award...

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South Africa resumes debate on secrecy bill

January 25, 2011 3:36 PM ET

Parliamentary hearings on South Africa's Protection of Information Bill resumed last week with heated debate over provisions threatening to restrict press freedom and access to information. For journalists, much uncertainty remains over the final product and when it will be completed....

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Pastor Marrion, a Congolese fixer, needs your help

January 21, 2011 1:17 PM ET

A group of international journalists is seeking donations to pay the costs of a kidney transplant for Marrion P'udongo, a Congolese fixer who has worked tirelessly with reporters from around the world to make sure his country's story is told....

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In Zimbabwe, a rare retreat in a media attack

January 21, 2011 12:47 PM ET

In Zimbabwe, where journalists face constant harassment and repressive legislation, it's a rare occasion that the army would back off from its interference with an independent newspaper. But that's what seemed to happen this week in rural Gutu....

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The struggle continues for power, and media, in Ivory Coast

January 10, 2011 6:01 PM ET

In Ivory Coast, the tense post-election dispute between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and rival and self-proclaimed president-elect Alassane Ouattara is a power struggle for control of national institutions--including the sole state media outlet, Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI)....

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Another Nigerian journalist dies in strife-torn Jos

January 3, 2011 4:56 PM ET

Augustine Sindyi, a veteran photographer for the state-owned weekly Standard newspaper in Plateau State, was walking home from work on Christmas Eve when a nearby bomb explosion killed him instantly. Sindyi resided in a busy Nigerian neighborhood near the local government offices in the center of Jos. The assailants...

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