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

2012


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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