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Africa

2010

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A billboard for a tourism conference in Gambia. (CPJ)

Who would not like to enjoy luxurious beach resorts and quaint fishing villages on the “Smiling Coast of Africa”? This is the pitch that the Gambian government made to participants of an international tourism conference last week. In fact, behind the idyllic facade of a tropical paradise wedged on Africa's western Atlantic coast is the grimace of Gambia's independent press. 

Salou Djibo is leader of the coup that overthrew Niger's President Mamadou Tandja. (AFP/Sia Kambou)

When a coup occurs somewhere in the world, journalists are usually the first to be sidelined. Beyond the classic scene of a new leader addressing the nation and promising democracy, stability, and wealth, reporters are usually simply undesirable within the new leadership's entourage.

New York, May 18, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government of Madagascar to investigate a Saturday raid on the opposition radio station Fréquence Plus that resulted in the arrest of an opposition leader while he was on a live radio program, local journalists told CPJ. The soldiers injured three journalists and destroyed the station’s equipment in 67 Hectares, a district in the capital, Antananarivo, before arresting opposition leader Ambroise Ravonison and another on-air guest, Harrison Razafindrakoto, the journalists said.
The Berhane family, together in Toronto after eight years apart. From left are Mussie, Aaron, Miliete, Frieta, and Eiven. (Family photo)Eight years ago, Aaron Berhane left his wife and three children behind as he fled his native Eritrea, a fugitive wanted by authorities because his newspaper had dared criticize the government of revered independence leader Isaias Afewerki. In May 2009, Berhane's family managed to escape to Sudan. This month, at last, they joined him in Canada.

Last week, I attended an unusual event called the Courage Forum at which half a dozen speakers, from tightrope artist Philippe Petit and Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal to Virgin founder and chairman Richard Branson, talked about about overcoming fear.

New York, May 5, 2010—Three gunmen shot dead veteran broadcast journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey on Tuesday evening as he was returning home from work at the state-run Radio Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. Gunmen abducted Abkey, left, near his residence in Wardhigley, southern Mogadishu, and shot him repeatedly in the head. Local journalists said they suspect Abkey was tortured after finding his body dumped in an alleyway in Wardhigley.
With valuable help from her interpreter, the author recently reported from Bukavu on women's rights and sexual violence. A hospital in Bukavu, above, treats victims of violence. (AFP/Adia Tshipuku)

Today, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day. But on this day, this year, I am not thinking about the dangers for the many journalists whose bylines I’ve come to associate with places like Mogadishu or Manila, Kabul or Islamabad. It’s not because I don’t have immense respect for them and for the risks they take to bring their readers essential reports from some of the most dangerous corners of the world. I do.

New York, April 30, 2010Four journalists who covered the recent dismissal of the electoral commission chairman received anonymous death threats via text message on Wednesday, according to CPJ interviews and news reports. The messages, sent from the same number, said the reporters would meet the fate of three slain Nigerian journalists.

2010

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Contact

Africa

Program Coordinator:
Sue Valentine

Advocacy Coordinator:
Mohamed Keita

East Africa Consultant:
Tom Rhodes

West Africa Consultant:
Peter Nkanga

svalentine@cpj.org
mkeita@cpj.org
trhodes@cpj.org
pnkanga@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
ext. 117
Fax: 212-465-9568

330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10001 USA

Twitter: @africamedia_CPJ

Blog: Sue Valentine
Blog: Mohamed Keita
Blog: Tom Rhodes
Blog: Peter Nkanga