South Africa

2011


Alerts   |   South Africa

Criminal probe targets AP, Reuters cameras on Mandela

Reuters and The Associated Press are being investigated by authorities in South Africa for installing cameras pointed at Nelson Mandela's house, seen here. (AFP)

New York, December 16, 2011--South African authorities announced on Thursday the launch of a criminal probe against international news agencies The Associated Press and Reuters for installing cameras outside the home of anti-Apartheid figure Nelson Mandela, according to news reports.

Blog   |   South Africa

Mission Journal: Secrets bill spurs South African press

A protest against pending state secrets legislation in South Africa. (Chris Yelland)

Irrespective of whether South Africa actually implements the most draconian parts of state secrets legislation now under consideration, the media in the continent's most open democracy already feel under threat. The prospect of 25-year jail sentences for journalists publishing "classified" information has galvanized disparate news outlets and journalists groups to work together like never before. 

Alerts   |   South Africa

South Africa lower house passes information bill

South Africans protest the information bill outside parliament. (Anna Majavu/Sunday Times)

New York, November 22, 2011--The South African National Assembly today passed an information bill which would sanction unauthorized possession and publication of classified state information with a prison term of up to 25 years, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the upper house of parliament to reject the bill, which has been criticized by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Nelson Mandela, among others.

Alerts   |   South Africa

Zuma spokesman targets South African weekly

Mail & Guardian

New York, November 21, 2011--The spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma filed a criminal complaint on Saturday against two journalists investigating his alleged role in a $US5 billion international arms deal that became embroiled in scandal, according to news reports.

Weekly investigative paper Mail & Guardian sought comment last week from presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, also a member of the ruling African National Congress, regarding information leaked from a confidential 2004 police deposition about his role in an arms deal, editor Nic Dawes told the local press. Maharaj asked the journalists how they obtained the information and referred the inquiry to his lawyers, BDK Attorneys, according to news reports. The lawyers threatened the newspaper with criminal prosecution under a 1998 law punishing unauthorized disclosure of a suspect's testimony in an investigation with a prison term of up to 15 years, news reports said.

Alerts   |   South Africa

South Africa's ruling ANC pulls secrecy bill

Children march with signs protesting the Protection of Information Bill. (Right2Know)

New York, September 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved by Monday's decision by the parliamentary majority of South Africa's ruling party to withdraw a controversial bill from consideration pending further consultation with public interest groups over its contentious clauses.

Alerts   |   South Africa

In South Africa, journalists attacked during ANC protest

Journalists take cover while Malema supporters protest the ANC leader's disciplinary hearing. (Daniel Born/The Times)

New York, August 31, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by anti-press violence by supporters of Julius Malema, youth leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, and is relieved that the party leader has urged restraint.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda

The Internet in East Africa: An aid or a weapon?

In Johannesburg. (CPJ)

Frank Nyakairu has seen it all. A veteran war reporter, he has covered the horrors of northern Uganda and Somalia, among others places. And throughout this time of rich but often appalling experiences, he has also seen the auspicious--and sometimes terrifying--impact the Internet has had on East African reporters. 

Nyakairu spoke at a recent workshop held in Johannesburg, South Africa, co-organized by Global Voices, Google Africa, and CPJ. Attendees at the conference comprised some of the most active African bloggers and online reporters on the continent who came to learn how to sharpen their online reporting skills while avoiding the censors. 

Alerts   |   Libya, South Africa

Libya: Release body of South African photojournalist

(AP)

New York, May 20, 2011--The Libyan government should immediately release the body of South African photographer Anton Hammerl, at left, and investigate the role of the armed forces in his death, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Hammerl, 41, was shot and killed by government forces near Brega in eastern Libya on April 5. Three journalists traveling with him were detained by Libyan authorities until May 18 and announced Hammerl's death after their release.

May 20, 2011 5:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

At NYU, South Africa's Motlanthe defends press policies

Motlanthe at NYU. (CPJ/Mohamed Keita)

On Monday, in a public lecture at New York University, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe described as irreversible the democratic gains made since the end of apartheid, including the advancement of press freedom. "We have a constitution which guarantees basic human rights such as freedom of association, freedom of the press, and the independent judiciary," he declared. Many in South Africa, however, are not so sure that press freedom's future is secure. 

Attacks on the Press   |   Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Africa Analysis

Across Continent, Governments Criminalize
Investigative Reporting

Ivory Coast's President and 2010 presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo talks to the press. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

By Mohamed Keita

Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.

Attacks on the Press   |   South Africa

Attacks on the Press 2010: South Africa

Top Developments
• ANC pushes proposal to create state media tribunal to monitor, sanction press.
• Anti-media rhetoric heats up, tarnishing nation's image as press freedom leader.

Key Statistic
25: Years of imprisonment for disclosing classified information, as proposed in the Protection of Information Bill.


On the defensive about high crime rates and reports of public corruption, the ruling African National Congress pushed back aggressively against a probing news media. As ANC leaders ratcheted up anti-press rhetoric, the government moved ahead with legislative proposals that would monitor and sanction the press, criminalize investigative journalism, and shield public officials from scrutiny. The ANC campaign tarnished the image of Africa's press freedom leader and raised fears that the country could backslide into apartheid-era censorship.

February 15, 2011 12:15 AM ET

Blog   |   South Africa

In South Africa, judge orders probe into censorship at SABC

In South Africa, a judge this week ordered an official investigation into allegations that a former news executive for national public broadcaster SABC had muted critical voices and skewed coverage of major events--like the aftermath of Zimbabwe's 2005 election in favor of the ruling party. The ruling comes amid a contentious press freedom debate stirred by legislative proposals from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) that critics say would criminalize investigative journalism.

January 28, 2011 4:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Africa

South Africa resumes debate on secrecy bill

Protesters in Capetown decry secrecy bill. (Independent Newspapers Cape)

Parliamentary hearings on South Africa's Protection of Information Bill resumed last week with heated debate over provisions threatening to restrict press freedom and access to information. For journalists, much uncertainty remains over the final product and when it will be completed.

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