Africa / 2012

CPJ Blog

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Where is Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu?

December 27, 2012 4:25 PM ET

Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed, government spokesman and censor-in-chief of the Red Sea nation, has been invisible in the past few weeks. The total absence of any independent press in Eritrea has allowed the government to maintain complete silence in the face of mounting questions and surging Internet...

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In Djibouti, journalist defiant despite revolving jail door

December 27, 2012 11:53 AM ET

Online journalist Houssein Ahmed Farah spent more than three months in jail in Djibouti before an appeals court finally released him in November--after his defense requested bail three times, Houssein said. His crime? Officially nothing. "It appears to have been an arbitrary arrest because there is still no evidence...

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Somalis in Kenya hounded by security forces, refugee policy

December 21, 2012 4:18 PM ET

Exiled Somali journalists living in Nairobi were struck with disbelief this week when daily newspapers published a statement by the Department of Refugee Affairs ordering all Somali refugees to move to refugee camps. "The refugees, particularly those living in urban centers, are contributing to insecurity in the country," the...

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Members of European Parliament call to free Eskinder

December 19, 2012 6:35 PM ET

On December 18, 16 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) wrote an open letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn calling for the immediate release of the independent journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who was condemned in July to 18 years in prison under the country's tough 2009 anti-terrorism...

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Worrying trends at South Africa's public broadcaster

December 18, 2012 4:32 PM ET

South Africa is in the midst of one of its most important political events--the ruling African National Congress's Mangaung elective conference, which takes place once every five years to shape policy and elect new leadership.  Because of the power of the ANC as South Africa's leading political party, the...

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Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when...

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Journalists still murdered where impunity reigns

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the...

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More can be done to get justice for Deyda Hydara

December 17, 2012 1:40 PM ET

In the eight years since unidentified assailants shot and killed Deyda Hydara of the Gambia, no one has been held to account. The late 2004 murder of Hydara, an immensely respected editor, columnist, and press freedom advocate known for his criticism of President Yahya Jammeh's repressive media policies, became...

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In Internet freedom fight, why the ITU matters (for now)

December 14, 2012 12:39 PM ET

For most of its almost-150-year history, the meetings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' communications standards body, have been rather predictable affairs....

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Integrity vs. authenticity in video journalism

December 13, 2012 2:20 PM ET

Back in November 2010, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a leaked video that appears to show men in Sri Lankan military uniforms executing bound prisoners, the camera panning across a series of bodies laid out in a ditch. Family and friends identified one of those bodies as that of Tamil...

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Video: Campaign to free the press

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

(CNN) The imprisonment of journalists hit a record high in 2012, driven by the growing use of anti-terrorism charges to silence critical voices. This video, a centerpiece of CPJ's new Free the Press campaign, details the plight of imprisoned journalists worldwide and describes how international advocacy can make a difference...

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Jailed Rwandan editors turn to African Commission

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Among the 232 journalists imprisoned around the world are Rwandan editors Agnès Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibibi, who are serving years-long terms on charges they defamed the president, Paul Kagame, and incited violence. Their crime? The women had published a series of stories in 2010 on several sensitive issues the...

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On Human Rights Day, make your voice heard on impunity

December 10, 2012 4:07 PM ET

In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 10 Human Rights Day in commemoration of the adoption and proclamation two years earlier of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year, on this day, the U.N. chooses one right to highlight and advocate. This year, Human Rights Day is...

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Speak Justice campaign fights impunity in press murders

December 6, 2012 6:15 AM ET

The tortured and decapitated body of 39-year-old María Elizabeth Macías Castro was found on a Saturday evening in September 2011. It had been dumped by the side of a road in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town ravaged by the war on drugs. Macías, a freelance journalist, wrote about...

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As impunity reigns in Somalia, president takes note

December 4, 2012 10:28 AM ET

In October, two gunmen shot Shabelle Media Network reporter Mohamed Mohamud as he left a mosque one evening; he died from the gunshot wounds less than one week later. Several members of the Somali armed forces who happened to be at the scene opened fire on his assailants, local...

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To fight impunity, cycle of fear, silence must be broken

November 23, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Three years ago, on November 23, 2009, 30 journalists and two media workers were brutally killed in the southern Philippine city of Maguindanao while travelling in a convoy with the family and supporters of a local politician. To this day, not a single suspect has been convicted, though local...

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Awardees say indignation trumps intimidation

November 21, 2012 12:46 PM ET

The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail,...

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Will UN plan address impunity, security for journalists?

November 13, 2012 1:31 PM ET

Here are the facts:A journalist is killed in the line of duty somewhere around the world once every eight days.Nearly three out of four are targeted for murder. The rest are killed in the crossfire of combat, or on dangerous assignments such as street protests.Local journalists constitute the large...

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Twenty-three days to take action against impunity

November 1, 2012 4:28 PM ET

Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today,...

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Remembering South African photojournalist Alf Kumalo

October 24, 2012 2:35 PM ET

Photojournalist Alf Kumalo, whose career chronicled the inception, injustice, and demise of apartheid in South Africa, passed away on Sunday in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 82....

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London statement urges strong steps to protect journalists

October 23, 2012 12:12 PM ET

More than 40 media organizations worldwide are demanding urgent action by governments, the United Nations, and the industry to stop violence against journalists and end impunity in attacks on the press. They made their position known in a joint statement delivered today to the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural...

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Nigerian journalist wins landmark court victory

October 12, 2012 4:25 PM ET

"If a journalist can't fight for his own right, then he has no responsibility to fight for others," Desmond Utomwen, a senior correspondent with TheNews Magazine/PM News, told me after a High Court judge on October 4 awarded him 100 million naira (US$637,000) in special damages from the Nigeria...

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South African Secrecy Bill kept at bay, for now

September 20, 2012 3:26 PM ET

South African journalists and civil society groups were uneasy this month amid rumors that the Protection of State Information Bill, commonly known as the Secrecy Bill, would pass the Upper House of parliament, the last step before a presidential signature. Since 2008, journalists and civil society have lobbied against...

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Vigil in DC honors Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega

September 19, 2012 3:10 PM ET

Writer, journalist, blogger, and free speech activist Eskinder Nega, the 2012 recipient of PEN American Center's Freedom to Write Award, lived in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native Ethiopia to start one of the country's first-ever independent newspapers. On Friday, Eskinder was back in D.C.--not physically, but as...

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In Cryptocat, lessons for technologists and journalists

September 11, 2012 12:12 PM ET

Alhamdulillah! Finally, a technologist designed a security tool that everyone could use. A Lebanese-born, Montreal-based computer scientist, college student, and activist named Nadim Kobeissi had developed a cryptography tool, Cryptocat, for the Internet that seemed as easy to use as Facebook Chat but was presumably far more secure....

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Signs of justice for battered Nigerian photojournalist

September 5, 2012 5:59 PM ET

Hardly ever do Nigerian journalists get justice for assaults suffered in the line of duty. But things may be set to change with the case of Benedict Uwalaka, a photojournalist with Leadership Newspapers, who on August 9 was brutally assaulted at a government hospital in Lagos State. The first...

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Dear CPJ: Some malware from your 'friend'

August 30, 2012 4:32 PM ET

We talk a lot about hacking attacks against individual journalists here, but what typifies an attempt to access a reporter's computer? Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, received an email last week that reflects some characteristics of a malware attack against a journalist or activist. There was nothing particularly notable...

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In Meles' death, as in life, a penchant for secrecy, control

August 21, 2012 5:25 PM ET

Ethiopians awakened this morning to state media reports that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, 57, the country's leader for 21 years, had died late Monday in an overseas hospital of an undisclosed disease. Within seconds, Ethiopians spread the news on social media; within minutes, international news media were issuing bulletins....

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McClatchy's Boswell caught in South Sudan's war of words

August 15, 2012 5:19 PM ET

A day before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited South Sudan this month, McClatchy correspondent Alan Boswell reported that President Salva Kiir had finally acknowledged his government's support for a Nuba Mountains-based group that had been skirmishing with Sudanese forces. In a letter to his U.S. counterpart,...

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Syria, Somalia, Bahrain--where fathers bury their sons

August 10, 2012 2:40 PM ET

The 17-year-old videographer Anas al-Tarsha regularly filmed clashes and military movements in the city of Homs in Syria, and posted the footage on YouTube. On February 24, he was killed by a mortar round while filming the bombardment of the city's Qarabees district, according to news reports. The central...

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Mogadishu comic is latest Somali media death

August 3, 2012 12:30 PM ET

All the radio stations wanted him, and for good reason--Abdi Jeylani Malaq was one of the most famous comedians in Mogadishu, and it was the holy month of Ramadan when the radio broadcasters hold quiz shows. Abdi had been in the business since 1989 and was in hot demand...

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Ethiopians still looking for answers on Meles

July 30, 2012 4:33 PM ET

Since I published a blog last week on the lack of information about the health and whereabouts of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, readers have deluged it with comments (over 175 as of today), reflecting the pent-up interest in the premier's status and deeply divided views of his leadership....

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Stressed out: How should newsrooms handle trauma?

July 27, 2012 1:49 PM ET

The rampage inside a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured dozens more is the most recent reminder that a journalist anywhere can face sudden, great emotional stress. Any story involving tragedy--from domestic violence to natural disasters--can inflict an emotional toll on field journalists. The very empathy...

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For journalists, danger lurking in your email

July 27, 2012 7:47 AM ET

This week, Morgan Marquis-Boire and Bill Marczak of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab provided a disturbing look into the likely use of a commercial surveillance program, FinFisher, to remotely invade and control the computers of Bahraini activists. After the software installs itself onto unsuspecting users' computer, it can...

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Where is Meles Zenawi? Ethiopians don't know.

July 26, 2012 4:09 PM ET

If you search for the name of Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, on Twitter these days, you'll see a flurry of incongruent postings: Meles is hospitalized in critical condition; he's fine and returning to work; he died two weeks ago; he's on holiday. Journalists for international news outlets have...

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CPJ testifies on global threats to freedom of expression

July 26, 2012 1:51 PM ET

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington on Wednesday, highlighting global attacks on press freedom and, in particular, assaults on the press in Honduras, Russia, and Turkey....

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Face-blurring comes into focus for journalists

July 20, 2012 5:24 PM ET

This week, YouTube announced a feature that should catch the eye of video journalists and bloggers working in dangerous conditions. After uploading a video to YouTube, you can now deploy a "blur faces" post-production tool that, in theory, should disguise the visual identity of everyone on the screen. The...

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Ugandan press finds unexpected ally in judiciary

July 6, 2012 4:15 PM ET

With a medical drip attached to his hand, camped outside police headquarters along Parliamentary Avenue in Uganda' capital, Kampala, William Ntege was determined to get his video cameras back. Police had beaten Ntege, a journalist with the private broadcaster WBS, and damaged two of his cameras as he covered...

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High-tech censorship on the rise in East Africa

June 29, 2012 12:04 PM ET

Ethiopia has always been a country at the cutting edge of Internet censorship in Africa. In the wake of violence after the 2005 elections, when other states were only beginning to recognize the potential for online reporters to bypass traditional pressures, Meles Zenawi's regime was already blocking major news sites...

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What to do if Google warns of state-sponsored attack

June 22, 2012 12:55 PM ET

Some journalists continue to receive the warning from Google about state-sponsored attacks that we mentioned last week. The message appears on top of logged-in services like Gmail. Occasionally it will disappear for a few hours and then reappear, but there is no way to remove it....

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Video: Journalists in exile

June 19, 2012 12:05 AM ET

Four East African journalists who were forced to flee their countries tell about their experiences, difficulties, and hopes for the future. (3:43)Read CPJ's report, "Journalists in exile: Crisis in East Africa," for more information about journalists forced to go into exile....

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For exiled Eritreans in Sudan, fear greater than most

June 19, 2012 12:03 AM ET

With the launch of CPJ's most recent exile report, I will have worked exactly three years for our Journalist Assistance program. More than 500 cases later, I have helped journalists who have gone into hiding or exile to escape threats; those in need of medicine and other support while...

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US senator condemns Ethiopia's persecution of the press

June 15, 2012 12:48 PM ET

On Wednesday, the same day the White House announced a strategic plan committing the United States to elevating its efforts in "challenging leaders whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes" in sub-Saharan Africa, a senior member of the U.S. Congress challenged the erosion of press freedom in a...

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Spreading the security message

June 14, 2012 2:03 PM ET

Video streaming by UstreamOn the frontlines of global reporting, knowledge is safety. CPJ's event series to promote our new Journalist Security Guide continued Wednesday in Washington, D.C. where we teamed up with Internews for a panel discussion on journalist security on-site and online. ...

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Mission Journal: Somaliland's press harassed, disappointed

June 13, 2012 5:29 PM ET

"I'm free but I don't feel free," said Mohamed Abdi Urad, chief editor of Yool, a critical weekly published in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland. Mohamed had just been released on May 22 after a week in detention at Hargeisa Central Police Station. His crime? "I have no idea,"...

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Amid assaults on press, Uganda police promise reforms

June 8, 2012 5:18 PM ET

Joseph Mutebi, a photojournalist for the popular vernacular state-owned daily Bukedde, spent his afternoon trying to file a complaint with the police in the capital, Kampala. "First they told me the officer who assaulted me was based at another station, so I went there and now they are telling...

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Defining role of the press in genocide prevention

June 6, 2012 1:22 PM ET

Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis' most infamous death factory....

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South Africans clash on Twitter over #Zumaspear

June 4, 2012 5:24 PM ET

South African journalist and arts critic Charl Blignaut made what turned out to be an excellent prediction. "Of all the work on show, it's this depiction of the president that will set the most tongues wagging and most likely generate some howls of disapproval," he wrote on May 13...

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Computer crime laws belie Thai claim to modern society

May 31, 2012 5:19 PM ET

At online discussion sites all over the world, comments are posted on the Web as soon as they are written. People argue, inform, express anger, and voice fears. Some say things in the heat of the moment that they might go on to regret. Others are elliptical and obscure. The...

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Free expression in Americas goes beyond left or right

May 31, 2012 3:47 PM ET

On Sunday the general assembly of the Organization of American States will convene in Bolivia in the verdant, highland valley city of Cochabamba. The 35 member states (every nation in the region except Cuba) are expected to vote on a measure that, if passed, could curtail free expression and press...

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Liberia university suspends student journalist over article

May 25, 2012 2:58 PM ET

A private university in Liberia has suspended a journalist studying there for publishing a newspaper story critical of the institution's management. On May 8, private Cuttington University in Suacoco in central Liberia suspended Selma Lomax, a reporter with independent newspaper FrontPage Africa and a third-year student in agriculture at the institution, for...

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Solidarity, a key to security, eludes Salvadoran press

May 25, 2012 10:16 AM ET

No other journalists are remembered quite like this. Visitors looking through the glass display at the Monsignor Romero Center & Martyrs Museum in San Salvador see the pajamas and other clothes that three Jesuit university priests were wearing when they were shot down by automatic rifle fire. A series...

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At CPJ Debrief, Gettleman cites Somalia danger, reward

May 24, 2012 5:57 PM ET

Jeffrey Gettleman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent, says he travels with "a small militia" whenever he reports from Somalia, the East African country afflicted by armed insurgency, poverty, and hunger. As intrusive as the security detail might be, he feels far more fortunate than the local reporters...

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Members of Congress urge Meles to end repression

May 22, 2012 3:22 PM ET

Two members of the U.S. Congress, a Republican and a Democrat, have publicly voiced indignation at Ethiopia's persecution of journalists under the leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, with both declaring that stability and security are enhanced by press freedom....

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Don't get your sources in Syria killed

May 21, 2012 11:28 AM ET

Because foreign journalists have been virtually banned from Syria during the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime, news coverage has relied heavily on citizen journalists and international reporters working with sources inside the country. Syrians who communicate with foreign news media run the risk of being threatened, detained, tortured, or...

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Audio slideshow: Supporting family of Anton Hammerl

May 14, 2012 5:05 PM ET

Freelance photographer Anton Hammerl was killed in Libya on April 5, 2011. Friends of Hammerl are holding an auction May 15 to raise funds for his three children. James Foley elaborates....

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Nigeria journalists obstructed on World Press Freedom Day

May 11, 2012 4:50 PM ET

On World Press Freedom Day last week, Nigeria's Information Minister, Labaran Maku, publicly asserted that the country's media "is one of the freest in the universe." On paper, Nigeria's 1999 Constitution guarantees the freedom of the press to "uphold...the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people." But...

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Should J-School grads just get up and go overseas?

May 10, 2012 1:05 PM ET

The guidance is hardly clear. At a Columbia University event last week pegged to the release of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide, one journalism student said he and his classmates are getting contradictory advice. Many J-school professors, he said, have encouraged him and others to just get up,...

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China's media footprint in Kenya

May 7, 2012 4:17 PM ET

Will China's quickly expanding media presence in Africa result in a fresh, alternative, and balanced perspective on the continent--much as Al-Jazeera altered the broadcast landscape with the launch of its English service in 2006--or will it be essentially an exercise in propaganda?...

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Equatorial Guinea bars reporter from press freedom debate

May 7, 2012 2:56 PM ET

To commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3, CPJ published a list of the 10 most censored countries, citing Equatorial Guinea as the fifth worst offender. In response, the Minister of Information and government spokesperson, Jerónimo Osa Osa Ecoro, dismissed the analysis of the country's press situation as...

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In digital security, knowledge and simplicity are keys

May 3, 2012 3:02 PM ET

Governments and criminal organizations are stepping up digital surveillance of journalists, but the press is not keeping pace in meeting the challenge, a panel of experts said Wednesday at an event marking the launch of the CPJ Journalist Security Guide. Reporters are using unsecure consumer electronic products for sensitive...

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Most censored nations each distort the Net in own way

May 2, 2012 4:00 PM ET

One big reason for the Internet's success is its role as a universal standard, interoperable across the world. The data packets that leave your computer in Botswana are the same as those which arrive in Barbados. The same is increasingly true of modern mobile networks. Standards are converging: You...

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China not most censored, but may be most ambitious

May 2, 2012 2:10 PM ET

China didn't make the cut for our 10 most censored countries. While the Chinese Communist Party's censorship apparatus is notorious, journalists and Internet users work hard to overcome the restrictions. Nations like Eritrea and North Korea lack that dynamism....

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Safer mobile use is key issue for journalists

May 2, 2012 2:00 PM ET

As the Internet and mobile communications become more integrated into reporters' work, the digital threats to journalists' work and safety have increased as well. While many press reports have documented Internet surveillance and censorship--and the efforts to combat them--mobile communications are the new frontline for journalist security....

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Assisting journalists forced to flee censorship

May 2, 2012 12:00 AM ET

CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program supports journalists who cannot be helped by advocacy alone. In 2011, we assisted 171 journalists worldwide. Almost a fourth came from countries that made CPJ's Most Censored list. Eight journalists from Eritrea, five from Syria, six from Cuba, and a whopping 20 from Iran sought...

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For conflict journalists, a need for first-aid training

April 30, 2012 4:41 PM ET

Stop the bleeding. It's a critical and fundamental step in aiding a journalist or anyone wounded in conflict. Hemorrhage is the number one preventable death on the battlefield. And yet large numbers of journalists covering wars and political unrest all across the world are untrained in this life-saving skill....

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Liberian journalist Mae Azango on cold threats, hot stories

April 27, 2012 5:00 PM ET

Mae Azango was not surprised when the Liberian police failed to help when she began receiving threats of violence in response to an article she had written about female genital cutting that was published on in FrontPage Africa on March 8. She had previously reported critically on the police,...

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Why journalists need new ways to stay safe

April 26, 2012 6:00 PM ET

After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the...

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Internet giants submit to external free expression scrutiny

April 18, 2012 4:46 PM ET

Journalists and bloggers in authoritarian countries have their work cut out thwarting governments that try to restrict their writing and reporting. The last thing they need to worry about is the provider of their publication platform helping authorities with censorship or surveillance. Cue the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a voluntary...

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Equatorial Guinea's press silent on unrest in Mali, Syria

April 6, 2012 6:17 PM ET

While Mali remains in global headlines with a March 22 military coup and rebel claims of an independent state, citizens in Equatorial Guinea are kept in the dark about the crisis unless they have access to international media, CPJ has gathered from interviews with journalists and a government spokesman....

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In Liberia, journalist Mae Azango moves a nation

April 5, 2012 5:42 PM ET

Liberian journalist Mae Azango's courageous reporting on female genital mutilation, which made her the target of threats and ignited international controversy, has forced her government to finally take a public position on the dangerous ritual. For the first time, Liberian officials have declared they want to stop female genital...

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Blogger fights terror charges as Ethiopian leader praised

April 3, 2012 10:58 AM ET

Last week in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, while Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was making a speech about Africa's growth potential at an African Union forum, a journalist who his administration has locked away since September on bogus terrorism charges was presenting his defense before a judge. Eskinder Nega...

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Video: Bocar Dieng on reporting Senegal's elections

March 29, 2012 6:06 PM ET

Political violence in Senegal from Committee to Protect Journalists on Vimeo.Last week's unexpected coup d'etat in Mali somewhat overshadowed, in the international news cycle, a relatively peaceful transition of power in the neighboring democracy of Senegal. In a second-round vote, opposition leader Macky Sall on Sunday defeated his former mentor,...

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Corruption a no-go zone for South Sudan's journalists

March 28, 2012 6:12 PM ET

Last week, South Sudan's ruling party secretary-general, Pagan Amum, won an important court battle, absolving him of allegations that he received a $30 million corrupt payment in 2006. The accusations came from former Finance Minister Arthur Akuien Chol, who alleged earlier this year that he had received orders from...

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With coup, quiet #Mali generates noise on Twitter

March 22, 2012 6:14 PM ET

Yesterday, while reporting on breaking news in Mali from studios in Atlanta, CNN Wire Newsdesk Editor Faith Karimi made an ominous observation that presaged the outcome of developments unfolding 5,000 miles away. "#Mali president @PresidenceMali has not tweeted in 10 hours after reports of gunfire and a coup attempt,"...

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Exiled Somali journalist Hassan Mohamed dies in Nairobi

March 21, 2012 4:21 PM ET

Veteran Somali radio journalist Hassan Mohamed, 45, died early yesterday morning in Eastleigh, a Nairobi suburb. He had fled Mogadishu in 2010, having been threatened, kidnapped, and shot twice. One of hundreds of Somali refugees in Kenya, many of them journalists, Hassan struggled to support himself and survive worsening...

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Belgian journalist Thierry Michel takes on impunity in DRC

March 19, 2012 5:44 PM ET

Who killed Floribert Chebeya, the president of the leading DRC human rights group La Voix des Sans Voix, and his driver, Fidèle Bazana, in June 2010 in Kinshasa? A few runaway police officers, according to the military tribunal that judged the case and issued its sentences one year later. A...

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Who knew? Senegalese arrest, prosecution can be swift

March 14, 2012 1:10 PM ET

Last week, a judge in Senegal convicted a man of assaulting three journalists outside their newspaper's office in the capital Dakar last month. The attack was not related to journalism, but the quick arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator serves as an instructive contrast between the handling of an...

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A bad weekend for Malawian journalists

March 14, 2012 1:00 PM ET

No media outlet critical of President Bingu Wa Mutharika or the ruling Democratic Progressive Party was spared by the government this past weekend -- whether print, broadcast, or online. The broadside included a public campaign to discredit the media as well as threats of fines and arrests of critical...

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The hazards of reporting all sides of the Lamu port story

March 8, 2012 6:32 PM ET

Freelance photographer Abdalla Bargash had accompanied Kenya's permanent secretary for transport, Cyrus Njiru, to cover a meeting with Lamu community members over the newly constructed Lamu port. The Kililana Farmers' Association are concerned that the major construction on the once-sleepy island of Lamu off Kenya's coast could encroach on...

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Rwandan exiled journalist comes out of hiding

February 16, 2012 3:08 PM ET

I must have received at least a dozen communications from worried friends and colleagues, asking the whereabouts of the chief editor of the highly critical Rwandan website, Umuvugizi. By mid-January, no one had heard from John Bosco Gasasira, nothing new had been published on Umuvugizi since January 11, and...

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Attack on South Sudan reporter sparks critical debate

February 14, 2012 4:21 PM ET

February is the hottest month in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and Mading Ngor, a reporter and presenter for the Catholic-owned Bakhita FM, trudged his way through the heat to cover parliament proceedings last week--only to be thrown unceremoniously out of the assembly. "Before I had time to...

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For Gambia's press, positive developments?

February 13, 2012 6:00 PM ET

Good news for Gambia's beleaguered independent press has been rare during President Yahya Jammeh's 17-year rule, but last week brought three potentially positive developments. It's unclear whether they mark a real change in the status quo, but they may at least increase the resolve of advocacy groups to seek...

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DRC journalist Solange Lusiku honored for fortitude

February 8, 2012 3:42 PM ET

Seated near the fireplace in a historical home in Tournai, a medieval town 70 miles from Brussels and a stone's throw from the French border, while snow fell outside, Solange Lusiku Nsimire was enjoying not only the company of friends, but the chance to live for a few days...

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Can selective blocking pre-empt wider censorship?

February 3, 2012 5:14 PM ET

Last week, Twitter provoked a fierce debate online when it announced a new capability--and related policy--to hide tweets on a country-specific basis. By building this feature into its website's basic code, Twitter said it hoped to offer a more tailored response to legal demands to remove tweets globally. The...

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Uganda's radio closures uncover lack of independence

January 23, 2012 10:23 AM ET

Ugandan police have shuttered 13 broadcasters since December, accusing them of misusing power supplies and equipment belonging to the state-run Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). The widespread allegations of corrupt deals between the state broadcaster and ostensibly private stations reveal more than illicit transactions--they expose a lack of independence within...

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#OccupyNigeria protesters take on news media coverage

January 13, 2012 6:23 PM ET

Protesters in Nigeria are not only angry at their government's New Year's Day decision to eliminate a fuel subsidy -- they are also upset about news media coverage of the citizens' movement, dubbed "Occupy Nigeria," and have taken their protests to local media outlets....

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Standing with Ethiopia's tenacious blogger, Eskinder Nega

January 13, 2012 4:21 PM ET

It would be hard to find a better symbol of media repression in Africa than Eskinder Nega. The veteran Ethiopian journalist and dissident blogger has been detained at least seven times by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government over the past two decades, and was put back in jail on...

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#ANC100 debate lays bare divisions over South Africa media

January 9, 2012 6:21 PM ET

On January 8, 1912, South African intellectuals--including pioneering black newspaper publishers Pixley ka Isaka Seme, editor of Abantu-Batho, and John Langalibalele Dube, editor of Ilanga lase Natal--formed Africa's oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), in the Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein....

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Samuel Kiendrebeogo: 1949-2012

January 6, 2012 5:12 PM ET

The African media community lost a central voice this week with the passing of Samuel Kiendrebeogo, the veteran host of weekly media magazine Médias d'Afrique et D'Ailleurs on Voice of America's French service. Sam, as he was known, died while vacationing in his native Burkina Faso. He was 63....

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Remembering Henry Nxumalo, pioneer under apartheid

January 3, 2012 3:18 PM ET

Just over 55 years ago, on New Year's Eve 1957, trailblazing South African journalist Henry Nxumalo was murdered while investigating suspicious deaths at an abortion clinic in Sophiatown, a suburb west of Johannesburg....

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