CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Tom Rhodes

Tom Rhodes is CPJ's East Africa representative, based in Nairobi. Rhodes is a founder of southern Sudan’s first independent newspaper. Follow him on Twitter: @africamedia_CPJ

Blog   |   Uganda

From 9/11 to 7/11, balancing security, liberty

Museveni at the African Union summit. (AP/Stephen Wandera)

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.

July 27, 2010 1:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Somaliland elections and coverage surprisingly...normal

Voters at a Somaliland polling station on June 26. (Ahmed Kheyre)Critical voices in the East African media—whether in EthiopiaRwandaBurundi, or Uganda—have been intimidated, banned, blocked, and beaten prior to elections in recent years. Somalia is so embroiled in conflict that even the concept of having elections remains a faraway dream. But in late June, the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia managed to hold relatively peaceful and free elections with decent media coverage, local journalists and election observers told CPJ.
July 7, 2010 5:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea, Sweden

Reluctant activist: A brother’s struggle to free Dawit Isaac

Missing journalist Dawit Isaac's brother, Esayas, began the Free Dawit campaign in 2004. (Petra Jankov Picha)

In 2001, Eritrean security forces imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaac along with nine other journalists without trial in September 2001. The arrests effectively shut down the nation’s fledgling independent press and any potential political dissent prior to scheduled December 2001 elections, which were subsequently cancelled. To this day, Dawit is believed to be held incommunicado in a tiny cell in poor health. In all the years since his disappearance, Dawit’s brother, Esayas Isaac, has fought for his release. CPJ spoke to him on May 24, during the week of Eritrea’s 19th Independence Day:

May 25, 2010 2:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Journalist Assistance, Somalia

Exiled Somali journalists face new challenges in Nairobi

Gesey, left, and Jimale in their Nairobi apartment. (CPJ/Tom Rhodes)

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.

Blog   |   Gambia

Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release

Gambia Press Union

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 of the Commonwealth of Nations, urging him to launch an investigation into the case. 

March 19, 2010 10:15 AM ET

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Blog   |   Rwanda

Rwanda's Kagame tries to link bombs to critical press

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.

March 10, 2010 3:19 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Kenya, Somalia

African journalists face increasing risk for foreign outlets

Abdulle (CPJ)

“I didn’t wear the bulletproof jacket and helmet that Reuters gave me,” explained veteran Somali journalist Sahal Abdulle to a packed crowd at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel for CPJ’s launch of Attacks on the Press. “It didn’t seem right when my colleagues, local journalists, were risking their lives trying to cover the same event.” Abdulle, like all Somali journalists, faces immense challenges in covering the story in his war-ravaged country. According to this year’s findings in Attacks, nearly all the journalists killed in the line of duty in 2009 were local journalists—and nine of them were killed in Somalia.

February 16, 2010 5:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

A new mission for Somalia’s Mustafa Haji Abdinur

January 21 marks Press Day in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to be a journalist. As such, few local journalists find much reason to celebrate. With nine Somali journalists killed in the line of duty last year, numerous local journalists have fled, especially from the restive capital, Mogadishu. “The free media is going to die out,” journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur warned Ron Hill in an MSNBC interview last year after he received CPJ’s 2009 International Press Freedom Award.

January 21, 2010 3:55 PM ET

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2010

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