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   |   Kenya

Kenya's quiet information revolution

Kenya's new government database.

An information revolution is quietly unfolding in Kenya, potentially allowing the public greater access to government data and independent local news. This month, the nation became a regional leader in open government with the launch of a website providing easy access to volumes of public information. Journalists can tap into public budget data with relative ease through the government portal. 

July 15, 2011 2:18 PM ET

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. 

Blog   |   Kenya

Acquitted: A Kenyan journalist struggles to report freely

(CPJ)

A court in Kisumu, western Kenya, recently acquitted journalist Bernard Okebe, at left, of graft charges after a two and a half year case against him. While the case is finally over, Okebe is still dealing with the fallout of being accused of blackmail.

In December 2008, the police chief of Nyamira, a town in western Kenya, accused Okebe of bribing him. Police Chief Lawrence Njoroge alleged that Okebe had demanded 15,000 Kenyan shillings (US$175) to stop him from publishing a damaging article against him.

June 14, 2011 11:02 AM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Exiled Somali journalists rally around wounded colleague

Colleagues gather to support Hassan. (CPJ)

Hassan Mohamed, nicknamed "Jaeyl" by his colleagues, used to be a jack-of-all-trades for Somalia's first independent broadcaster, HornAfrik. He was a journalist, a producer, and a librarian. He was even a dramatist. His most powerful professional role was keeping HornAfrik running when most senior staff members fled the country, fearing for their lives.

May 24, 2011 4:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Malawi

Malawi: A prying press silenced by injunctions

The president with first lady Callista Mutharika at a G20 summit last year. (AP)
In Malawi, where half the population survives on a dollar a day, it proves wise for the political elite to keep their exorbitant wealth hidden from public scrutiny.  That's why they appear to be running to the courthouse to file injunctions to silence the press.

Blog   |   Sudan

Remembering South Sudan's pioneer female reporter

When The Juba Post's star reporter, Apollonia Mathia, told me that so-called "tong tong" rebels had attacked again near Gumba, in southern Sudan, I looked at her warily. "Let me get the camera I'll check it out," she said. Apollonia planned to hop on our rickety motorbike to cover a story about the infamous Ugandan rebels, the Lord's Resistance Army. Locals in the current capital of what will soon be South Sudan, Juba, call the Ugandan rebels "tong tong," which literally means "cut cut," because of their notoriously brutal machete attacks. It was getting late in the day, but I knew there was no point in trying to convince Apollonia out of a story. 

March 30, 2011 6:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya, Somalia

A Somali journalist still gets taunting threats in exile

Abdi has been targeted from Somalia to Kenya. (CPJ)

It was February 2008 when Bahjo Mohamud Abdi received her first anonymous phone call. It was a man's voice asking her to confirm who she was. Abdi was a presenter and correspondent for the state radio in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Abdi confirmed her identity and thought no more about it. But then she received another anonymous phone call two hours later--informing her that she was talking to the "Somali Mujahadeen" and that they could see her in the local shopping center in downtown Baidoa. 

March 25, 2011 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda

Nairobi Attacks launch probes investigative reporting

Journalists at CPJ's Nairobi launch of Attacks on the Press today. (CPJ)At CPJ's book launch of our annual survey of press freedom conditions across the world, Attacks on the Press, today in Nairobi, we focused on the growing theme of challenges to investigative journalism in Africa, with a particular look at East Africa. The subject certainly resonated with the local and foreign journalists here. 
February 15, 2011 3:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Equatorial Guinea

With abysmal press freedom record, Obiang takes AU chair

Reuters

The African Union announced on Sunday that the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, will become the new chairman in the union's yearly rotating leadership. The first debate Obiang (at left) presided over at the two-day AU conference that ends today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, concerned "shared values"--highlighting issues of democracy and good governance. Representing one of Africa's most oppressive dictatorships, with a completely stifled press, the new AU chair could hardly refer to personal experience in such a debate.

Blog   |   Nigeria

Another Nigerian journalist dies in strife-torn Jos

Since December 24, about 80 people have died from three bombings in Jos; seen here is a government building smoldering after a blast. (Reuters)

Augustine Sindyi, a veteran photographer for the state-owned weekly Standard newspaper in Plateau State, was walking home from work on Christmas Eve when a nearby bomb explosion killed him instantly. Sindyi resided in a busy Nigerian neighborhood near the local government offices in the center of Jos. The assailants targeted an area that would receive immeasurable damage where Sindyi happened to live, state radio reporter Murtala Sani, told me. 

2011

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