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Rwanda

2010


Six stories: Online journalists killed in 2010

Greek blogger Giolias (AP)

This week, CPJ published its year-end analysis of work-related fatalities among journalists. Six of the 42 victims worked online. While you can read the full statistics and our special report elsewhere, I want to highlight the stories of these six journalists who worked on the Web.

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

A December suicide attack in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal district claimed the lives of two journalists. (Reuters/Umar Qayyum)
The editors of Rwanda's once-leading newspaper now publish from exile. (CPJ)
Though it has been a dark year for Rwanda's press, it has also been a year of resistance and turning to a new sort of reporting--from exile.

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.

Kagame at a rally in Nyagatare. (AP/Margaret Cappa)

"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. 

New York, July 9, 2010Police 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.

(Jeanne Umwana)New York, June 25, 2010—A top editor of an independent Rwandan newspaper that was recently banned by the government was assassinated in front of his home late Thursday, according to local journalists and news reports. An assailant shot Jean-Léonard Rugambage, left, acting editor of Umuvugizi  as he drove through the gate of his home in the capital, Kigali, around 10 p.m., Rwanda National police spokesperson Eric Kayiranga told CPJ.

In response to international media reports that Jean-Léonard Rugambage, the deputy editor of  the suspended independent newspaper Umuvugizi, was shot dead late Thursday in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, the Committee to Protect Journalists released the following statement:

New York, June 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Rwandan authorities today to provide information as to why the Web site of newspaper Umuvugizi is inaccessible in the run-up to August presidential elections. The state-run Rwanda News Agency reported on June 3 that the Web site of Umuvugizi, a leading private paper known for its critical coverage of the government, could not be opened on the networks of the country’s only Internet service providers.

New York, April 13, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s decision by Rwanda’s Media High Council to suspend two independent weeklies just months prior to presidential elections. At a press conference, attended only by state broadcasters and the pro-government radio station Contact FM, the Media High Council announced an immediate six month suspension of private vernacular weeklies, Umuseso and Umuvugizi.

APJournalists in Kigali are on tenterhooks after President Paul Kagame, left, made new accusations of their supposed involvement in a bomb attack in Rwanda. Just months before Rwanda’s presidential elections, Kigali was recently hit by two grenade attacks that killed two people and injured 30 others, according to news reports.

Editor Charles Kabonero has been given a year in jail for invading the privacy of two politicians. (Phil Carpenter)New York, February 23, 2010—Three journalists were sentenced to prison on Monday in Rwanda over a story reporting on an extramarital affair between the mayor of the capital, Kigali, and a government minister, according to local journalists and news reports.
Al-Shabaab militants patrol Mogadishu's Bakara Market, home to several media outlets. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)By Tom Rhodes

High numbers of local journalists have fled several African countries in recent years after being assaulted, threatened, or imprisoned, leaving a deep void in professional reporting. The starkest examples are in the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, where dozens of journalists have been forced into exile. Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and the Gambia have also lost large segments of the local press corps in the face of intimidation and violence.

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Killed in Rwanda

17 journalists killed since 1992

17 journalists murdered

15 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

3 Critical journalists imprisoned on December 1.

Country data, analysis »

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