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

2011


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Remembering South Sudan's pioneer female reporter

March 30, 2011 6:17 PM ET

When The Juba Post's star reporter, Apollonia Mathia, told me that so-called "tong tong" rebels had attacked again near Gumba, in southern Sudan, I looked at her warily. "Let me get the camera I'll check it out," she said. Apollonia planned to hop on our rickety motorbike to cover...

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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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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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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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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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