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   |   Somalia

Mission Journal: Somaliland's press harassed, disappointed

Abdiweli Farah and Mohamed Abdi Jama, chief editors of Ogaal and Waheen, respectively, say the government has not lived up to its promises. (CPJ/Tom Rhodes)

"I'm free but I don't feel free," said Mohamed Abdi Urad, chief editor of Yool, a critical weekly published in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland. Mohamed had just been released on May 22 after a week in detention at Hargeisa Central Police Station. His crime? "I have no idea," he said. Mohamed had attempted to cover a deadly skirmish between civilians and a military unit over a land dispute in the eastern part of the capital, Hargeisa. "The Interior Minister just saw me walking towards the scene and ordered his men to arrest me," he said. A few days later, police released Mohamed unconditionally and without charge.

Blog   |   Uganda

Amid assaults on press, Uganda police promise reforms

Ugandan journalists protest on World Press Freedom Day in 2011. (Edward Echwalu)

Joseph Mutebi, a photojournalist for the popular vernacular state-owned daily Bukedde, spent his afternoon trying to file a complaint with the police in the capital, Kampala. "First they told me the officer who assaulted me was based at another station, so I went there and now they are telling me he is based at the police station where I originally went. So I am confused. I think they are just playing with me." Mutebi's case is not uncommon--both in terms of the constant threat journalists face from Uganda's police force and the challenges they encounter trying to file a complaint.

Blog   |   China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

China's media footprint in Kenya

CCTV's East Africa operations are headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. (CCTV)

Will China's quickly expanding media presence in Africa result in a fresh, alternative, and balanced perspective on the continent--much as Al-Jazeera altered the broadcast landscape with the launch of its English service in 2006--or will it be essentially an exercise in propaganda?

May 7, 2012 4:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Blogger fights terror charges as Ethiopian leader praised

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at a conference in London in February. Western governments are hesitant to press Ethiopia on human rights abuses. (AP/Jason Reed)

Last week in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, while Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was making a speech about Africa's growth potential at an African Union forum, a journalist who his administration has locked away since September on bogus terrorism charges was presenting his defense before a judge. Eskinder Nega has been one of the most outspoken critics of Meles' domestic leadership over the past two decades and has suffered imprisonment, intimidation, and censorship for it.

Blog   |   South Sudan

Corruption a no-go zone for South Sudan's journalists

Pagan Amum, secretary-general of South Sudan's ruling party, was awarded defamation damages from two newspapers who reported on a corruption case. (CPJ)

Last week, South Sudan's ruling party secretary-general, Pagan Amum, won an important court battle, absolving him of allegations that he received a $30 million corrupt payment in 2006. The accusations came from former Finance Minister Arthur Akuien Chol, who alleged earlier this year that he had received orders from "above" to transfer the public money, according to local reports. The court acquitted Amum based on insufficient evidence. The money, however, remains unaccounted for, according to local reports. And the odds of any journalist in South Sudan investigating the matter further are slim.

March 28, 2012 6:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Malawi

A bad weekend for Malawian journalists

The government of Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika, pictured, has threatened journalists with fines and arrests for disrespecting him. (AFP/Alexander Joe)

No media outlet critical of President Bingu Wa Mutharika or the ruling Democratic Progressive Party was spared by the government this past weekend -- whether print, broadcast, or online. The broadside included a public campaign to discredit the media as well as threats of fines and arrests of critical journalists.

Blog   |   Kenya

The hazards of reporting all sides of the Lamu port story

Lamu town on Lamu island, which will be home to a major port project. (Lamu Studios)

Freelance photographer Abdalla Bargash had accompanied Kenya's permanent secretary for transport, Cyrus Njiru, to cover a meeting with Lamu community members over the newly constructed Lamu port. The Kililana Farmers' Association are concerned that the major construction on the once-sleepy island of Lamu off Kenya's coast could encroach on their farmland. 

March 8, 2012 6:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Rwanda, Sweden

Rwandan exiled journalist comes out of hiding

Gasasira in exile. (Gasasira)

I must have received at least a dozen communications from worried friends and colleagues, asking the whereabouts of the chief editor of the highly critical Rwandan website, Umuvugizi. By mid-January, no one had heard from John Bosco Gasasira, nothing new had been published on Umuvugizi since January 11, and his cell phones were switched off. Last week, concerned colleagues wrote a public letter expressing concern over their missing colleague.

February 16, 2012 3:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   South Sudan

Attack on South Sudan reporter sparks critical debate

Mading Ngor says his ejection from parliament is receiving unwarranted attention given the number of journalist assaults in South Sudan. (AP)

February is the hottest month in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and Mading Ngor, a reporter and presenter for the Catholic-owned Bakhita FM, trudged his way through the heat to cover parliament proceedings last week--only to be thrown unceremoniously out of the assembly. "Before I had time to argue, four security guards pinned me to the ground and dragged me across the floor, tearing up my trousers," Ngor, a hard-hitting, critical journalist, told me.

February 14, 2012 4:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Uganda

Uganda's radio closures uncover lack of independence

Former Minister Kabakumba Masiko resigned after her private radio station was found to have been illegally using UBC equipment. (CPJ)

Ugandan police have shuttered 13 broadcasters since December, accusing them of misusing power supplies and equipment belonging to the state-run Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). The widespread allegations of corrupt deals between the state broadcaster and ostensibly private stations reveal more than illicit transactions--they expose a lack of independence within Uganda's broadcast sector.

2012

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