CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Tom Rhodes

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

2010


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Kenyan radio station manager wanted at The Hague

December 23, 2010 10:49 AM ET

Kenyan journalists assumed senior politicians from the ruling party and opposition would be singled out for inciting the public to kill after the 2007 presidential elections--but they were shocked to find out that one of their own has been named.  ...

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The good times are gone for Burundi's press

December 20, 2010 5:13 PM ET

After 2006, Burundi's government and media relations seemed promising. The airwaves had been open to private broadcasters for years; the president held frequent press conferences, and the government commended the unified press for its professional 2010 pre-election coverage. "The president had organized an open dialogue with the press before...

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Uganda lifts ban on CBS, staff celebrates with caution

November 2, 2010 11:26 AM ET

Full, normal broadcasting of the Ugandan Central Broadcasting Service (CBS)--owned by Uganda's powerful traditional Buganda kingdom--resumed Monday after nearly 14 months of silence. While CBS staff welcomed their return to work, many recounted a tough year and questioned the nature of the station's re-opening. ...

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Kenyan journalist's murder case postponed again

October 29, 2010 2:08 PM ET

Kenyan journalist Francis Nyaruri went missing on January 16, 2009 after writing a series of articles for The Weekly Citizen about corruption and malpractice by local police and civil servants. Thirteen days later, his bound and decapitated body was found near his hometown of Nyamira, northwest of the capital...

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Government threatens press in pre-election Tanzania

October 28, 2010 11:06 AM ET

As the October 31 national elections draw near, Tanzania's media is in a frenzy trying to cover the close race between the two leading presidential candidates. But government threats and draconian media laws may be getting in the way of objective coverage....

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Censored in Rwanda, editors work from exile

October 18, 2010 5:47 PM ET

Though it has been a dark year for Rwanda's press, it has also been a year of resistance and turning to a new sort of reporting--from exile. Ever since Rwandan authorities began cracking down on the nation's independent press before the presidential elections in August, the space for critical...

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Ugandan station still closed, an ill omen for election

October 1, 2010 2:48 PM ET

More than a year has passed since the government-influenced Broadcasting Council summarily closed the popular Central Broadcasting Service, or CBS. The council closed the station in September 2009 as riots were erupting in response to the government's decision to block the traditional Buganda king from attending a youth celebration...

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'A Somali journalist's life is short anyways'

September 14, 2010 2:39 PM ET

In August, Shabelle Media Network, one of Somalia's leading independent broadcasters, did something incredibly brave--they rebroadcast news and music that the BBC's Somali-language service beams to the war-torn Horn of African nation in defiance of a ban imposed by hard-line militant Islamist rebel groups Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam. For Somali journalists, who risk death by crossfire...

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A lesson for South African media: Look to Kenya

August 23, 2010 5:02 PM ET

The chorus of voices opposing the South African government's proposed Protection of Information Bill and state-backed ombudsman continue to grow. South Africa's Business Day estimates the press produces three articles per day opposing what many journalists see as an attempt by the ruling party to muzzle investigative reporting. More than 30 editors...

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In Rwanda election, no critical domestic press

August 9, 2010 4:17 PM ET

"No one but you!" supporters of President Paul Kagame have shouted at recent election rallies with many waving the red, white, and blue flags that symbolize the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party, according to local and international reports. But journalists critical of the ruling party could not document firsthand...

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From 9/11 to 7/11, balancing security, liberty

July 27, 2010 1:00 PM ET

Ugandan President Museveni urged his peers at this week's African Union summit to unite in the battle against terrorism in the aftermath of the terrible 7/11 bombings in Kampala. Security measures pursued by Ugandan authorities after the twin bombings, however, have left some Ugandans and other East African residents...

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Somaliland elections and coverage surprisingly...normal

July 7, 2010 5:29 PM ET

Critical voices in the East African media—whether in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, or Uganda—have been intimidated, banned, blocked, and beaten prior to elections in recent years. Somalia is so embroiled in conflict that even the concept of having elections remains a faraway dream. But in late June, the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia managed to hold relatively...

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Reluctant activist: A brother’s struggle to free Dawit Isaac

May 25, 2010 2:12 PM ET

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...

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Exiled Somali journalists face new challenges in Nairobi

April 9, 2010 3:45 PM ET

Somali journalists Hassan Ali Gesey and Abdihakim Jimale are roommates these days, living in a tiny, graffiti-ridden room in Nairobi, Kenya. Neither would have wanted to eke out an existence like this, but dire circumstances brought them together—starting with the night three years ago that Gesey saved Jimale’s life....

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Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release

March 19, 2010 10:15 AM ET

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...

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Rwanda's Kagame tries to link bombs to critical press

March 10, 2010 3:19 PM ET

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...

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African journalists face increasing risk for foreign outlets

February 16, 2010 5:32 PM ET

“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...

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A new mission for Somalia’s Mustafa Haji Abdinur

January 21, 2010 3:55 PM ET

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....

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