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.
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.
New York, December 21, 2010--Authorities should immediately release Congolese radio journalist Robert Shemahamba, who has been held in the eastern city of Uvira since Friday in connection with a political program critical of local officials, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
New York, December 16, 2010--A senior Rwandan presidential adviser should immediately retract a grave and unsubstantiated public accusation against a journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At least 42 journalists are killed in 2010 as two trends emerge. Suicide attacks and violent street protests cause an unusually high proportion of deaths. And online journalists are increasingly prominent among the victims. A CPJ special report
For Geneviève Zongo, every December 13 revives excruciating memories of the loss of her husband Norbert Zongo, editor of the weekly. He was assassinated in 1998 while investigating the murder of a driver working at Burkina Faso's presidential palace. More painful still is that the killers who ambushed Zongo's car, riddling it with bullets and torching it, have never been brought to justice.
"They like me in here," editor Jean-Claude Kavumbagu said of his fellow prisoners. But sub-Saharan Africa's only jailed online journalist still pays protection money to stay safe in Bujumbura's Mpimba Prison.
The Net Press editor has been here since police arrested him on July 17. He was charged with treason over an article that questioned the competence of Burundi's security services.
Relying heavily on vague antistate charges, authorities jail 145 journalists worldwide. Eritrea, Burma, and Uzbekistan are also among the worst jailers of the press. A CPJ special report
New York, December 3, 2010--Ivorian authorities should immediately lift a ban imposed Thursday on France-based news broadcasters covering the contested presidential election, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
As CPJ has previously documented, journalists in Egypt have faced a deterioration in press freedom in the run-up to the parliamentary vote on Sunday. Editors have been fired, TV shows suspended, and regulations over SMS texting suddenly tightened. In the final few days, a new forum found itself caught up in this attempt to control the media message--the social networking site Facebook.
The last few weeks have been extremely busy for everyone at CPJ as we've been preparing for the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards. Today's press conference in Washington will be followed by a series of events culminating in our awards ceremony Tuesday in New York. As always, the awardees make it special.
After almost a year in exile in America, an icy ocean away from his home in Ethiopia, journalist Samson Mekonnen, left, only recently received his work permit in Washington. In the interim, like most journalists undergoing the emotionally and financially grueling resettlement process, he has relied on friends, family, and international organizations like CPJ to support himself and his family while his petition for asylum navigates the bureaucratic waters.
Beketov is lucky to be alive, although I'm sure there are days when he
doesn't think so. On November 13, 2008, the environmental reporter who
campaigned against a highway that would have destroyed a forest in Khimki, a
New York, November 1, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a government ban on the publication of Malawian weekly tabloid The Weekend Times today. In a letter dated October 28, the National Archives of Malawi issued an immediate suspension of The Weekend Times on charges of failing to register the paper, according to news reports.
New York, October 29, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls upon authorities in Ethiopia's northeastern region of Afar to release a journalist who has been held without charge since September 11.
On Wednesday, just before South African lawmakers were scheduled to debate amendments to the controversial Protection of Information Bill, thousands of protesters marched to the gates of Parliament in Cape Town to oppose the measure, which they called an "apartheid-style secrecy bill." The marchers represented a broad coalition of media, academia, trade unions and civil society groups.
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 city of Nairobi. Twenty-two months after the murder, the outcome of his bereaved family and friends' quest for justice appears uncertain.
New York, October 29, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Gabonese authorities to free a journalist who was jailed on Tuesday for failing to pay exorbitant damages stemming from a 2004 civil libel suit.
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.
There's been a great deal of coverage in the last day or so of Firesheep, a plugin for Firefox that lets you take over the Facebook and Twitter accounts of others on your local network. If you use Firesheep, you can pick one of the people on, say, the same open wireless at your nearby cafe, and then easily view, delete, and add comments using their name on these sites.
On October 19, 1977, South Africa's government banned The World newspaper, along with Weekend World, the paper's weekly magazine, and Pro Veritate, a Christian publication. Authorities also detained scores of activists and outlawed 17 anti-apartheid groups during the one-day crackdown, which came to be known as Black Wednesday.
New York, October 22, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a recent statement from Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, announcing his intention to create a law requiring newspaper columnists to seek permission before they write critically about the government.
For the first time in South Africa's months-long debate over the proposal for a government-run media appeals tribunal, a top official from the African National Congress (ANC) indicated on Friday that the plan could be dropped altogether--under certain conditions.
New York, October 19, 2010--A pair of assailants lobbed a grenade Monday evening at Horseed FM, a private radio station broadcasting from the port city of Bossasso, the economic capital of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, according to local reports. After the grenade exploded, one of the attackers began shooting at an adjacent café, Horseed Managing Director Mahad M. Ahmed told CPJ.
Ever since Rwandan authorities began cracking down on the nation's independent press before the presidential elections in August, the space for critical reporting has been dissipating.
In Gabon, more than a year after the historic and contested presidential elections won by Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba, the main radio and television stations of Ondimba's two main opponents still face administrative obstructions imposed during the polls, according to interviews CPJ conducted with journalists and officials between July and September.
New York, October 7, 2010--Authorities in Somaliland should immediately lift a suspension order imposed against the UK-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The order bars the station's correspondents from reporting in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia, Khadar Mahamed, Universal TV senior newscaster and producer, told CPJ.
A few minutes before deadly explosions
ripped through Nigeria's 50th Independence Day
celebration in Abuja on Saturday, Twitter user Achonu Stanley wondered about darkening
skies over the festivities:
"Would the day be marred by rain? It has become cloudy and dark. Sorry for the
thousands of people at
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 north of the capital, Kampala. Its continued closure bodes ill for independent news coverage of February's presidential election.
"President Jammeh bags 4 awards," trumpeted a September 17 headline of the Daily Observer, a pro-government newspaper in the Gambia, a West African nation whose idyllic façade as "the smiling coast of Africa" is maintained in part by President Yahyah Jammeh's brutal repression of the independent press.
While South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) discusses the party's proposal for a media appeals tribunal, delegates should take note of a landmark ruling in Nigeria this year in which a High Court judge declared a government-dominated press council unconstitutional.
Violence has cut through the life of 28-year-old journalist
Abdulahi Ibrahim Dasar, from his high school days in Kismayo, the third-largest
Back in 2001 in Kismayo, Dasar had ambitious plans to become an entrepreneur, but bloodshed from local clan warfare forced his family to seek refuge in
This week's deadly unrest in Mozambique became a global news story in part because reporters and citizen journalists used new media and social networking tools. Clashes between security forces and people protesting rising prices in the capital, Maputo, left at least seven people dead and more than 200 people injured, according to the latest news reports.
New York, September 1, 2010--Unknown assailants fatally stabbed radio journalist Abdullahi Omar Gedi in the Galkayo district of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, on Tuesday evening. Gedi, 25, had just left work at Radio Daljir when attackers stabbed him repeatedly and left him unconscious, the station's managing partner, Jama Abshir, told CPJ. Gedi died of his injuries in the General Hospital of Galkayo.
Cape Town's St George's Cathedral, a rallying point for civil rights action during apartheid, was the site of the public launch on Tuesday of a mass campaign aimed at stopping a secrecy bill seen as a major threat to South Africans' hard-won freedom.
New York, August 31, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns threatening comments made by President Bingu wa Mutharika against Malawian news outlets last week. Mutharika threatened to close newspapers that report critically about his administration after the private weeklies Malawi News and Weekend Nation cited a regional agency's report forecasting food shortages in the country, local journalists told CPJ.
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 from major papers published protest messages mid-month calling on the government to abandon the planned legislation. But the South African media has yet to coordinate a mass protest comparable to that successfully orchestrated by Kenyan journalists in 2007 against the country's media bill. And President Jacob Zuma, infamous for issuing defamation suits against a critical South African press, may not back down easily in the face of public criticism.
As heads of state gathered last week at the summit of the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, in Namibia, their discussions were dominated by the progress of Zimbabwe's precarious power-sharing political agreement, which includes pledges to address a repressive media environment. Leading the mediation in the Zimbabwean crisis has been neighboring South Africa, which has been seen as a one-eyed man among the blind in terms of democracy and press freedom in Southern Africa. Yet the moral authority of South African president Jacob Zuma in Zimbabwe's situation is undermined by proposals of his African National Congress-led government to restrict the vibrant press in South Africa.
On August 17, 2010, two men barged into the offices of the Awramba Times, the independent Amharic-language weekly in the capital, Addis Ababa, and assaulted Moges Tikuye, a security guard, the paper reported. Tikuye suffered minor injuries. Early the next morning, assailants smashed the windows and doors of the office.
The South African media is facing its fiercest battle yet with the country's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), over the boundaries of freedom of expression in the 16-year-old democracy. On August 8, 37 senior members of the media issued a declaration decrying recent moves on the part of the ANC to potentially restrict the media's ability to report freely. The Auckland Park Declaration was published shortly after a war of words erupted over a media tribunal proposed by the party.
New York, August 16, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland to immediately release jailed radio journalist Abdifatah Jama, who was sentenced on Saturday to six years in prison on charges related to an interview with Islamic rebel leader Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom.
Fifty years ago, development journalism helped to silence dissenting voices: One had to rally to the fathers of the nation for the sake of national unity. Accordingly, the legacy of these 50 years of Francophone media in Africa is freedom of the press and opinion. Journalists prod the elites, who are allergic to criticism, and require that they account for their handling of power and assume responsibility in the face of the various scandals they cause. Recently in Burkina Faso for instance, a government minister had to resign after the print media revealed his extramarital affair with a married woman. This was unthinkable a few years ago.
New York, August 12, 2010--The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization should cancel the Obiang prize at its next session in October 2010, the Committee to Protect Journalists and 95 partner groups said in a letter to UNESCO Executive Board members today.
New York, August 11, 2010--Burundian police on Tuesday arrested Thierry Ndayishimiye, chief editor of the private weekly Arc-en-Ciel, on defamation charges related to a story about alleged government corruption. Ndayishimiye is the second Burundian editor to be jailed in less than a month.
I will never forget that morning of August
17, 1960, in Port-Gentil when I was awakened with a jolt by the screams: "Long live independence, long
live freedom!" Yet
"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 the campaign that ended today because the government systematically shut their news outlets and swept them out of the country in a campaign of intimidation.
WikiLeaks’ publication of tens of thousands of pages of confidential U.S. military documents on the Afghanistan war has drawn a lot of attention, perhaps overshadowing the many, more common cases around the world in which journalists publish stories based on leaked documents. This week, for instance, three journalists in Ivory Coast were found disclosing confidential judicial information after they published a story that shook the political establishment in this West African nation.
New York, July 27, 2010—An Ivorian judge on Monday ordered the release of three journalists who had been jailed for a story citing a leaked official document, but he imposed a fine and suspension on their newspaper, according to local journalists and news reports.
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 wary. East African journalists were among those detained by Ugandan security forces following the bombing. Uganda’s parliament, meanwhile, quickly passed a telephone surveillance bill.
In the year marking the 50th anniversary of
independence, the Togolese press is suffering from an obvious malaise—a
malaise perceived by the informed citizen and not by communications professionals
themselves. This malaise transpires in the daily practice of journalism through
the lack of professionalism. If elsewhere the media is stifled under the heel of
I will continue to relive for a long time August 5, 1960, the day Upper Volta, as Burkina Faso was then known, proclaimed independence from France! As a presenter of the newly founded national radio network, I was on the air, which was open to listeners all night. Some listeners, with tears of joy on their faces would enter the studio singing or reciting epic poems! As much as I loved the radio days of my debut in journalism, I have mixed feelings about the first decades following Independence.
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.”
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.
On January 1, 1960, during the proclamation of independence
of the French speaking part of
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.
New York, July 13, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists extends its deep condolences to the family and colleagues of Pius Njawé, a pioneering Cameroonian journalist and a press freedom advocate, who was killed in a car accident in the United States on Monday.
New York, July 9, 2010—Police in Rwanda arrested the editor of a private newspaper on Thursday in connection with a series of articles critical of the government, according to local journalists.
New York, June 29, 2010—Authorities in Rwanda announced on Monday the arrest of two individuals in the murder of journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, who was shot late Thursday as he drove through the gate to his home in Kigali, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed skepticism about the arrests and called on authorities to disclose details of their investigation.
At least 85 journalists fled their home countries in the past year in the face of attacks, threats, and possible imprisonment. High exile rates are seen in Iran and in the East African nations of Somalia and Ethiopia. A CPJ Special Report by María Salazar-Ferro
Last week in steamy, rain-soaked Monrovia, anticipation for the World Cup aside, I could already sense the buzz building around presidential elections scheduled for October of 2011. In the coming contest—only the second presidential election since the end of the civil war—Liberians will decide whether to reelect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state, for a second term. Just as the daily downpours fill the potholes that mar almost every road in
New York, June 3,
2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Zambian President
Rupiah Bwezani Banda and his administration to halt
the ongoing harassment of the nation’s leading independent newspaper The
We received a letter this
week from Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Don Yamamoto in
support of our plea to
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.
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.
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, 2010—Four 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.
New York, April 30, 2010—In light of the Ethiopian government’s longstanding practice of jailing journalists on trumped-up criminal charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the detentions last week of two government TV journalists on allegations of misusing state property. CPJ is monitoring the legal proceedings closely.
Journalist Dawit Isaac has spent 3,127 days in government custody in his native Eritrea, according to the ticker on FreeDawit, a Web site based in Sweden, Isaac’s adopted country, where he is a citizen. He has never been publicly charged with a crime or been given a trial. A thorny issue between Sweden and the Red Sea nation for many years, the imprisonment of Isaac sparked disagreement between diplomats for the two countries again this week.
New York, April 13, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s decision by
In the reclusive Red Sea nation of Eritrea, the fate of 10 journalists who disappeared in secret prisons following a September 2001 government crackdown has been a virtual state secret—only occasionally pierced by shreds of often unverifiable, secondhand information smuggled out of the country by defectors or others fleeing into exile.
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.
Namujimbo, a journalist for Radio Okapi,
dead on the night of November 21, 2008. Now, after repeated delays, a military
court in Bukavu,
capital of the
New York, March 19, 2010—At least five journalists were wounded while covering
violent clashes between security personnel and protesters outside the capital,
New York, March 19, 2010—Ethiopia is preparing to jam the Amharic-language broadcasts of the U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA), Prime Minister Meles Zenawi declared Thursday in a press briefing with international media correspondents based in the capital, Addis Ababa.
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 and without charge. On
Thursday, Durbin and four other senators sent a letter to Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general
It seemed like déjà vu. Another major protest erupts in
New York, March 10, 2010—The Ethiopian Supreme Court reinstated fines on Monday against four newspaper publishing companies over their coverage of the disputed 2005 national election. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ethiopian authorities to end their continuing pursuit of politically motivated charges related to the election.
On February 16, CPJ held an ambitious international launch of our annual report Attacks on the Press. We coordinated events in six cities on four continents in order to expand the reach of our international headlines while also focusing on specific issues in each region. So how did we do?
“I didn’t wear the bulletproof jacket and helmet that
Reuters gave me,” explained veteran Somali journalist Sahal Abdulle
to a packed crowd at
New York, January 20, 2010—Freelance journalist Stanley Kwenda, left, a contributor to the private weekly The Zimbabwean, fled the country on Friday after he said he received a telephone threat from a high-ranking police officer, according to the paper’s editor, Wilf Mbanga.
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