Africa

2010

Blog   |   Madagascar

After 50 years, journalism at a crossroads in Madagascar

Madagascar recently celebrated its 50th Independence Day, a milestone for a Malagasy press that has been documenting through difficult periods the nation’s tumultuous journey of self-rule. The funny thing is that most of our written press is in French, as in most former French colonies, and we never really question why that is or find issue with it. But when it comes to radio, the Malagasy language rules the air, seemingly a tribute to our enduring tradition of oral storytelling. Growing up in Antananarivo, my grandmother, like most Malagasies, would drop everything at the stroke of 2 p.m. to tune the radio she purchased in the 1940s to a daily show callled “Tantara mitohy” (literally, “story in progress”), a well-produced but low-budget radio “telenovela.”

July 21, 2010 8:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Burundi

Burundian online journalist faces life in prison for treason

New York, July 19, 2010—Burundian authorities’ arrest on Saturday of journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu on treason charges over commentary critical of the country’s security forces is alarming, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. He is being held in Mpimba prison in the capital, Bujumbura.
July 19, 2010 5:42 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivorian trio charged; ailing reporter on hunger strike

New York, July 16, 2010—Three journalists were formally charged today after refusing to reveal to Ivory Coast’s state prosecutor their sources for a corruption story based on a document leaked from the prosecutor’s office. The journalists could face up to 10 years in prison.

Blog   |   Niger

Niger’s news media: From ‘décor’ to dynamism

The author, second from left, interviews Foreign Minister Moumouni Djermakoye in 1974. (Courtesy Kobéret Dodo) On August 3 1960, Niger’s Independence Day, I had no inkling that I would one day take up a career in journalism. I was only 11 years old then and my village was very far from the capital and any media outlet. It is only later, when I began attending high school in the capital that I came into contact with newspapers.

July 16, 2010 3:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Guinea

In Guinea, media hopeful with democratic transition

Transitional leader Sekouba Konaté casts his vote in June's historic elections in Guinea. (Reuters)Guinea’s historic presidential elections and new constitution are changing the media landscape in the West African country. Since last month, the military-led Transitional National Council has passed two new laws decriminalizing defamation and created a new media regulatory body.

Blog   |   Cameroon

Press fuels democracy in Cameroon, across continent

The author in his office in 1992. (L’Essor des Jeunes)

On January 1, 1960, during the proclamation of independence of the French speaking part of Cameroon, I was forced, with comrades from Leclerc high school in Yaoundé, to take part in the big parade organized by President Ahmadou Ahidjo. At that time, I would occasionally write articles for the school magazine, but also for Les Nouvelles du Moungo, a monthly published in my native city of Nkongsamba. Still haunted by the September 1959 death of my father, a member of the independentist underground banned by France, and the assassination of underground leader Ruben Um Nyobè, I went to see Abbott Albert Ndongmo, who had just launched, in March 1960, a monthly called L’Essor des Jeunes. This truly steered me toward journalism. 

July 15, 2010 4:30 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast detains three journalists over sources

Le Nouveau Courrier’s newsroom with a copy of Tuesday's edition. (Le Nouveau Courrier)

New York, July 15, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrest of three journalists in Ivory Coast who have been detained since Tuesday, when they refused to disclose sources for an investigative report detailing the results of a government probe into corruption in the coffee and cocoa export trade, according to local journalists and news reports.

Blog   |   Cameroon

Remembering Pius: The devastation of his death

Pius Njawé (Le Messager)It’s 7:50 a.m. I’m up early—lots of work to finish today. I check my e-mail. There’s a message from CPJ’s Lauren Wolfe, who I don’t know. The opening line reads: “I’m not sure if you heard that Pius Njawé was killed in a car crash yesterday in VirginiaAnne Nelson told us you worked closely with him when he was chosen for the IPFA in 1991.”
July 14, 2010 12:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Journalist among dead in Uganda terror attacks

Police at the scene of one of Sunday's terrorist attacks. (Reuters)

Since the beginning of Somalia’s Islamist extremist insurgency, the Al-Shabaab militia has targeted journalists and others that it considers opposed to its goals. Al-Shabaab is now reaching beyond Somalia’s borders, as the group claimed responsibility for two bomb attacks Sunday evening that rocked Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and left an estimated 74 people dead, including radio presenter Stephen Tinkamanyire

July 13, 2010 5:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger

50 years on, Francophone Africa strives for media freedom

A Congolese man removes a portrait of Belgium's king in Leopoldville on July 22, 1960, at the end of colonial rule. (AP)

CPJ has joined with African press freedom groups to urge African leaders to end repression of the media as they celebrate 50 years since the end of colonial rule. We will publish a series of blogs this week by African journalists reflecting on the checkered history of press freedom over that period.

This year is the 50th anniversary of independence for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa from colonial powers France and Belgium. To mark the event, French President Nicholas Sarkozy has invited African leaders to Paris for the July 14 Bastille Day celebrations. One thing that hasn’t changed much in the last half a century is that the presidents and prime ministers on the Champs Elysees reviewing stand can rest assured that media back home will dutifully report on their speeches and appearances.

July 13, 2010 2:22 PM ET

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2010

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