Nairobi, December 30, 2013--An Ethiopian court convicted a journalist on December 25 on the charge of spreading false rumors and sentenced him to two years and nine months in prison, according to local journalists.
The conflict in Syria, a spike in Iraqi bloodshed, and political violence in Egypt accounted for the high number of journalists killed on the job in 2013. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser
"They even started shooting through my house--I had to lie on the floor with my wife and kids," Angelo Wello, a freelance journalist for faith-based news sites and a pastor, told me. Like many residents of the capital of Juba, South Sudan, Angelo has found it incredibly hard to get accurate information and report on one of the most tragic, restive periods in South Sudan's short history. And, like other South Sudanese journalists, he has to weigh his work against safeguarding his own and his family's safety.
Police arrested Mohamed Ibrahim, a journalist for the pro-opposition news website and radio station, La Voix de Djibouti (The Voice of Djibouti), on December 12, 2013, while he was covering a protest in the Balbala suburb of the capital, Djibouti City, according to local journalists.
The demonstration was staged by women demanding land plots that had been promised by the government after authorities demolished residences in their neighborhood, the journalists said.
Police detained two journalists of the Daily Nation on December 12, 2013, and released them on bail the next day. Richard Sakala, owner and editor of the paper, and Simon Mwanza, the production editor, were charged with "publication of false information with intent to cause public alarm" under Section 67 of the Zambian penal code.
For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China. The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser
Nairobi, December 16, 2013--Police in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland on December 13 raided the Hargeisa offices of the critical independent daily Hubaal, arrested two staff members, and ordered the publication to be shut down, according to news reports. This is the third time the paper has been targeted this year.
For the second time this year, the U.N. Security Council took up the issue of protection of journalists. In a discussion today sponsored by the French and Guatemalan delegations, and open to NGOs, speaker after speaker and country after country hammered home the same essential facts: The vast majority of journalists murdered around the world are local reporters working in their own country, covering human rights, corruption, conflict and politics. In nine out of ten of these murders, no one is ever prosecuted.
Police arrested four journalists on December 3, 2013, and detained them for nearly a week for covering a peaceful protest in the capital of the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland, according to local journalists and human rights organizations.
New York, December 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports a Malian website based in Paris has been threatened by Mali's government after posting an Associated Press (AP) story today implicating Malian soldiers in extrajudicial killings.
Nairobi, December 5, 2013--Kenya's National Assembly today passed contentious anti-press legislation, the Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Act and the Media Council Act, which will effectively silence critical reporting through a new government-controlled regulator and the threat of hefty fines.
Photo credit, Barbara Nitke (CPJ)
Journalists honored at CPJ's annual award ceremony
Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef was among four journalists who received CPJ's 2013 International Press Freedom Award on November 26. Youssef has used humor to report on and criticize government failures to improve the economy and public services, and its efforts to suppress opinion. In November, Youssef's show was suspended.
"Freedom of expression is not a privilege; it is a universal right," Youssef told the crowd gathered at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. "Now, you don't have to be a journalist or a reporter. You can just be an ordinary citizen with a camera and a YouTube channel. This is how we started. I don't know how this will end. ... But at least this is how we started."
CPJ also awarded Janet Hinostroza, a leading TV reporter in Ecuador, who has continued to work despite threats to her and her family; Nedim Şener, who faces up to 15 years in jail on terrorism charges because of his reporting; and Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, who was not present at the ceremony because he is serving a 12-year prison sentence for "conducting propaganda" against the state.
Thanks to Dan Doctoroff, chief executive officer and president of Bloomberg, who chaired the ceremony, the dinner raised a record $1.65 million for CPJ's worldwide press freedom advocacy. Many of the distinguished guests at the event also pledged support during a special appeal at the end of the night. Those funds were matched by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, contributing another $200,000.
Norman Pearlstine, executive vice president and chief content officer of Time Inc., presented Paul Steiger, founding editor-in-chief of ProPublica and former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for his lifetime commitment to press freedom.
It is an extraordinarily difficult time to be a journalist. Nearly every month, the digital security landscape shifts--new surveillance concerns are unearthed and freshly drafted laws are introduced that seek to curb freedom of expression under the guise of national security.
On November 13, 2013, the state-run media regulatory board High Council on Freedom of Communication (CSLC), suspended three private weeklies from circulation for nine months in connection with articles they published that were critical of the authorities, according to news reports. The 11 members of the council are hand-picked by the president and have the authority to suspend news outlets, according to CPJ research.
"Mr. President, you gagged us!" said a banner tied to the gates of Parliament today. Kenya's Editors Guild and the Kenya Correspondents' Association organized peaceful demonstrations across the country to protest a media bill currently under parliamentary review. Protests were held in every county in the country, according to William Janak, chairman of the correspondents' association, including roughly 80 to 100 protesters in the port-city of Mombasa, 100 in the central city of Kisumu, and 400 in the capital, Nairobi.
For all the people who have been working on the problem of impunity for so long, the announcement on November 26 that the Third Committee of the United Nation's General Assembly had passed a resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, setting November 2 as the "International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists," was welcome news.
In December 2012, the Committee to Protect Journalists and 27 partner organizations launched Speak Justice: Voices against Impunity as part of an international effort to seek justice for the hundreds of journalists who have been murdered around the world. Today, on International Day to End Impunity, we are taking a look back at what has happened over the last 12 months.
Training journalists how to better cover gender-based violence can help challenge attitudes that foster sexual attacks. Helping journalists learn personal skills to safely navigate sexual aggression can help prevent them from becoming victims themselves.
Nairobi, November 21, 2013--Somali authorities arrested two journalists, one of them the victim of an alleged rape, on Wednesday in Mogadishu, the capital, and charged them with defamation in connection with a report on the alleged rape, according to news reports and local journalists.
Armed state security agents on October 24, 2013, in the commercial capital, Lagos, barred journalists from covering the arraignment of 17 suspected members of the Boko Haram militant group on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, illegal possession of firearms, and being members of a proscribed organization, according to news reports.
A court in the capital Monrovia on November 18, 2013, officially ordered the release from prison of FrontPageAfrica publisher Rodney Sieh and the reopening of the offices of the private daily newspaper, according to news reports. The newspaper will resume its daily publication on November 25, 2013, Sieh told CPJ.
New York, November 14, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists urges South African President Jacob Zuma not to sign the revised Protection of State Information Bill and instead to send it to the Constitutional Court for review. The bill, which was sent back to parliament in September, was passed again by the National Assembly late on Tuesday.
Soldiers from the Mozambique Defense Force (FADM) beat up two journalists from Independent Television Mozambique (TIM) who were reporting on a confrontation between the military and locals in a town close to the capital Maputo on November 7, 2013.
Two murdered journalists for the Africa service of Radio France Internationale, Ghislaine Dupont, 51, and Claude Verlon, 58, might have had a chance. They were abducted on November 2 in Kidal in northern Mali, but the vehicle their captors were driving suddenly broke down, according to news reports.
New York, November 5, 2013--As media leaders and officials of regional institutions gather in Addis Ababa this week for the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF), the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the participants to ensure that press freedom is squarely on the agenda.
Few in Kenya's media could comprehend how a media bill, considered the most repressive in Kenya's 50-year history, could sail so easily through Parliament last week. Fittingly, Parliament passed the Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Bill on Halloween. It is awaiting President Uhuru Kenyatta's signature following a 14- day deliberation period.
New York, November 5, 2013--Ethiopian police have arrested without charge two editors of the leading independent Amharic weekly Ethio-Mihdar, according to local journalists.
Police in the town of Legetafo, northeast of the capital Addis Ababa, on Monday arrested Getachew Worku in connection a story published in October alleging corruption in the town administration, according to Muluken Tesfaw, a reporter with the paper, who spoke to Getachew shortly after his arrest. Getachew has not been charged, he said.
New York, November 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today calls on Malian and French authorities to conduct an efficient investigation into the killings of two French journalists on Saturday and ensure the killers are brought to justice.
CPJ launches US report
Following CPJ's release of its report on the state of press freedom in the United States, the organization is pursuing high-level meetings with the White House. CPJ had drafted six recommendations that were shared with President Obama, including calling for a guarantee that journalists would not be at legal risk or prosecuted for receiving confidential and/or classified information.
CPJ continues to work toward securing a meeting with the Obama administration in order to discuss the report's findings.
"Given our 32-year history fighting for press freedom around the world, we believe CPJ can make an important contribution to the press freedom concerns and debate in the United States," CPJ Chairman Sandy Rowe wrote in a blog published the day after the report.
Nairobi, November 1, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the parliamentary passage of the Kenya Information and Communication Amendment Bill on October 31 that will severely curtail press freedom in Kenya.
The young staff members of Radio Shabelle, whose offices were in the relatively safe section of Mogadishu next to the airport, are no longer feeling safe. On Saturday, while presenters were on the air, heavily armed security forces raided the Shabelle offices and arrested the three-dozen staff members at gunpoint, according to a statement by the Shabelle Media Network. The security forces dismantled and took all of the equipment for Radio Shabelle and Sky-FM, a sister station in the same building, as well as Shabelle TV.
Nairobi, October 28, 2013--Journalist Mohamed Mohamud, commonly known as "Tima'ade," succumbed to gunshot wounds on Saturday and died at Medina Hospital in the capital, Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. Unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed, a reporter for the popular, privately owned, U.K.-based Universal TV, on his way to work on October 22 in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu.
On the morning of Tuesday, October 22, 2013, Somali television journalist Mohamed Mohamud, nicknamed "Tima'ade," was seriously wounded when unknown armed men attacked him on his way home from work. He was shot more than five times. Colleagues and local residents in Wadajir district, where the attack took place, immediately rushed him to Madina Hospital in Mogadishu.
On Wednesday, David Kimaiyo, Kenya's inspector general of police, launched a tirade at the Kenyan press, threatening to arrest and prosecute two journalists for their coverage of the Westgate Mall rescue operation.
Lagos, Nigeria, October 24, 2013--Authorities in Sierra Leone should immediately release two reporters being held on charges of sedition and libel in connection with a story criticizing President Ernest Bai Koroma, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Nairobi, October 22, 2013--Somali authorities must work quickly to identify the motive in today's murder attempt on a broadcast reporter and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, Mohamed Mohamud, has been hospitalized with serious injuries.
It could have been the script for a John Le Carré intrigue. On Saturday October 12, Belgian security agents arrested Mohamed Abdi Hassan, a kingpin of Somali piracy known as "Afweyne" (Big Mouth), and his associate Mohammed M. Aden, nicknamed Tiiceey, a former governor of Himan and Heeb province.
Nairobi, October 16, 2013--Unidentified assailants threw two grenades at the Galkayo offices of Radio Daljir in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland on Tuesday night, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on Radio Daljir, which has been targeted in the past, and calls on authorities to identify the perpetrators and ensure they are brought to justice.
Journalists and media owners across Africa gave Ethiopian journalist Woubshet Taye a standing ovation in Cape Town on Saturday night at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2013, but he wasn't there to see it. Instead his wife and son accepted the Free Press Award on his behalf.
Part of the citation for the award reads: "Ethiopia is a jewel in the African crown for its beauty, its people, its history and, most recently, for its astonishing growth rates. It is the judges' view that journalists like Woubshet Taye and his colleagues Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega should be out of prison and working to build the prosperity and the freedom of a new Ethiopia. The judges make this award in recognition of Mr. Taye's work and in solidarity with his condition."
Rumor had it that thieves and police had exchanged gunfire during the robbery of a bank at the Westgate Mall. That was the word that first reached some Nairobi newsrooms that Saturday about the gunshots many Kenyans heard coming from the luxurious shopping mall.
New York, October 8, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Monday's decision by Liberia's Ministry of Justice to grant Rodney Sieh--the publisher of FrontPageAfrica who has been jailed since August for not paying libel damages--"compassionate release" for 30 days. The conditions behind Sieh's release were not clear, but the journalist's health had deteriorated in prison. It is also unclear what will happen to Sieh after 30 days.
Abuja, Nigeria, October 3, 2013--Gambian authorities should immediately release Fatou Camara, a journalist who has been held incommunicado since September 17, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government has not disclosed Camara's whereabouts or any charges against her, according to news reports.
The Nigerian government on September 27, 2013, accused two leading independent online news websites--the Abuja-based Premium Times and the New York-based Sahara Reporters--of publishing frequent reports that "incite mutiny" within the military and undermine ongoing military operations against terrorist activities in northern Nigeria, according to news reports.
Nairobi, September 30, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decision by Tanzanian authorities to suspend two leading private Swahili dailies on accusations of sedition. The government issued a statement on Friday suspending Mwananchi and MTanzania for 14 and 90 days respectively.
In 1968, Andrei Sakharov braved censorship and personal risk in the Soviet Union to give humanity an honest and timeless declaration of conscience. That same year, Ethiopia's most prominent dissenter, Eskinder Nega, was born. In January 1981, a year into Sakharov's exile in the closed city of Gorky, Reeyot Alemu, another fierce, Ethiopian free thinker, was born.
The jumpy, cell phone clips of journalists and security officers crouching outside the upscale Westgate Shopping Mall in the capital, Nairobi, permeated the TV screens across Kenya for four days. Edgy local and foreign reporters hid behind vehicles as gunfire shots, repeated explosions and smoke emanated from a supermarket inside.
New York, September 20, 2013--At least three journalists were assaulted by police and briefly detained today while covering the release of seven individuals who were arrested during a protest on Thursday, according to the journalists and news accounts. Protesters had staged a demonstration against what they called the authoritarian regime of President José Eduardo dos Santos, the reports said.
Nairobi, September 16, 2013--The decision by authorities at Kality Prison to impose visitor restrictions on imprisoned journalist Reeyot Alemu constitutes harassment and runs counter to the Ethiopian constitution, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
"We call upon the Ethiopian authorities to lift these latest restrictions and allow Reeyot Alemu to receive all visitors," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "She is a journalist, not a criminal, and should not be behind bars."
Cape Town, South Africa, September 10, 2013--An arson attack that destroyed a community radio station in South Africa is a disturbing sign of the vulnerability of freedom of expression at the local level, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
"Community media are often closest to some of the most contentious stories and offer a vital space for discussion and debate, which must be protected and respected," said CPJ's Africa Program Coordinator, Sue Valentine. "We call on all political and community leaders to encourage their members to respect freedom of expression and the independence of the media, and urge police to investigate the attack and prosecute all those responsible."
Nairobi, September 5, 2013--A TV journalist has received death threats twice this week following his coverage of wrongdoing at a hospital in the western Kenyan town of Bungoma, according to the journalist and news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to immediately investigate the threats and ensure the reporter's safety.
Juda Allahondoum, editor of the private weekly La Une based in the capital, N'Djamena, was convicted of criminal defamation on July 30, 2013, and sentenced to a suspended prison term of six months, Allahondoum and his lawyer told CPJ.
Three Chadian journalists jailed for several months in the capital, N'Djamena, while facing prosecution on defamation and anti-state charges, were handed suspended jail terms and then released, according to news reports and local journalists.
Bodyguards for Economic, Planning and Development Minister Ralph Jooma assaulted Raphael Mlozoa, journalist for the private Zodiak Broadcasting Station, on August 25, 2013, in the southern town of Mangochi, according to news reports. The minister accused Mlozoa of false reporting and ordered his security staff to confront Mlozoa, the reports said.
Dear President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: We call on you to decriminalize defamation; adopt monetary damages for libel commensurate with the harm done and within limits Liberians can afford; and halt the incarceration of defendants unable to pay, which is highly unusual in civil cases. We urge you to facilitate the release of jailed journalist Rodney Sieh and the reopening of his newspaper, FrontPageAfrica.
New York, August 28, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by today's hospitalization of leading Liberian independent journalist Rodney Sieh, who has been on hunger strike since his imprisonment on August 21.
Hubaal, Somaliland's critical and much-beleaguered daily newspaper, is back on newsstands after a presidential pardon last week. The paper was shuttered on orders of the attorney general in June without explanation. In April, two gunmen, subsequently identified by authorities as police officers, raided the office of Hubaal and attacked its staff after a series of critical articles accusing the government of nepotism and misuse of office. Editor Hassan Hussein and Managing Director Mohamed Ahmed were both convicted on defamation charges last month and given prison terms. The two journalists were released on bail and are appealing their convictions.
The charges leveled against a Zambian journalist suspected by authorities of being linked to the blocked news website Zambian Watchdog make for interesting reading.
Last week, as Egypt plunged deeper into political violence, CPJ recorded a sad statistic: the death of the 1,000th journalist in the line of duty since we began keeping records in 1992. While that benchmark death came amid a military raid, seven out of 10 killed journalists were in fact murdered in reprisal for their work-- and the killers have evaded justice in almost all of those cases, our research shows.
Nairobi, August 19, 2013--Three assailants killed veteran radio technician Ahmed Sharif Hussein outside of his home in the Shibis neighborhood of Mogadishu on Saturday, according to news reports and local journalists.
When Mick Deane was killed in Egypt on Wednesday, he became the 1,000th journalist documented by CPJ as having died in direct relation to his work. The photos above, a sampling of those who have died over the past 21 years, serve as a powerful reminder of the cost of critical, independent journalism.
Nairobi, August 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the arrest and week-long detention without charge of two journalists working for Radio Bilal, a station that has provided extensive coverage of ongoing anti-government protests staged by Ethiopian Muslims.
The Tanzanian government enjoys good international publicity for transparency, but news of public discontent is not being heard. A spike in anti-press attacks is sowing fear and self-censorship among journalists. A CPJ special report by Tom Rhodes
The South African Broadcasting Corporation is in the news for not airing a politically sensitive documentary that details allegations of apartheid-era theft of public funds. The public broadcaster, which had commissioned the film, has also refused to sell the rights back to the filmmaker and has filed a lawsuit demanding she turn over her raw footage and accusing her of breaching copyright by staging private screenings.
Taylor Krauss, an American journalist, freelance filmmaker, and founder of the testimonial website Voices of Rwanda, traveled to Uganda roughly two weeks ago to conduct some filming in hopes of pitching footage later to various media outlets. Krauss is no stranger to the region; he has been traveling back and forth to the country for nine years. But now that he has been arrested, held for three days without charge, had his equipment confiscated, and finally forced out of the country, this probably marks his last visit. It probably also marks bad news for the press in Uganda.
A group of persons with disabilities attacked Alhasane Bah, a journalist with the media group L'independent-Le Democrate, on July 4, 2013, as he attempted to photograph the group attacking another person with disabilities, according to news reports. The attack occurred near the Faycal Mosque in Donka district.
An identified State Security Service agent publicly flogged a reporter on July 3, 2013, while he was on an official visit to the Benue State Government House to deliver a press invitation to the state governor's chief of staff, according to news reports.
Cape Town, July 30, 2013--Zambian authorities should stop blocking access to critical news websites and halt their harassment of journalists accused of working with the websites, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after reports emerged of widening government obstruction.
Journalist Lohé Issa Konaté has been imprisoned in Burkina Faso since he was convicted in October of criminal defamation over articles in private weekly L'Ouragan alleging corruption and abuse of power at the office of the public prosecutor. In May, an appeals court rejected his appeal and upheld the 12-month sentence, according to defense counsel Halidou Ouedraogo. Now, after exhausting all domestic legal remedies, Konaté has filed a complaint with the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in Tanzania.
With Zimbabwe elections days away, the fight over access to the airwaves has intensified. The media environment has loosened slightly compared with previous years, but most Zimbabweans still lack access to independent sources of news, including radio. One person familiar with obstacles to broadcasting is Zenzele Ndebele, editor of Radio Dialogue, a community radio station based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, founded in 2001.
Speaking at a U.N. Security Council discussion about the protection of journalists, Associated Press Executive Editor and CPJ Vice Chair Kathleen Carroll remembered the 31 AP journalists who have died reporting the news and whose names grace the Wall of Honor that visitors pass as they enter the agency's New York headquarters. Most were killed covering war, from the Battle of the Little Big Horn to Vietnam to Iraq. But around the world, Carroll noted, "most journalists who die today are not caught in some wartime crossfire, they are murdered just because of what they do. And those murders are rarely ever solved; the killers rarely ever punished."
Much has been made recently about the digital surveillance of journalists--and rightly so--but physical surveillance remains a key tactic of security forces, law enforcement, and private entities. These operatives are monitoring journalists, gathering intelligence on them, and potentially obstructing journalists' work or putting them at risk.
When Star-FM launched on June 25, 2012, it was the first time in 30 years that Zimbabweans, who have known no other radio besides the state-controlled Radio Zimbabwe, had the chance to call in to a radio station to express their views.
Nairobi, July 18, 2013--Two Somali journalists were wounded, one critically, when they came under fire on Wednesday while covering the aftermath of a landmine explosion in the southern port city of Kismayo, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for an immediate and thorough investigation.
Cape Town, South Africa, July 17, 2013--Zambian authorities should stop their ongoing harassment of the Zambian Watchdog, a site that reports on alleged government corruption, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested another journalist they accused of contributing to the site, and blocked domestic access to the site for the second time, according to the Watchdog's editor and news reports.
In Burkina Faso, tens of journalists from state media today held a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Communications in the capital Ouagadougou to protest what they deem to be excessive government censorship of news coverage.
The African Union's special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, has launched an auspicious initiative in East Africa to counter criminal defamation and sedition laws. Since independence, authorities and business interests in the East and Horn region have used criminal laws on sedition, libel, and insult--often relics of former, colonial administrations--to silence their critics in the press. "Criminal defamation laws are nearly always used to punish legitimate criticism of powerful people, rather than protect the right to a reputation," Tlakula said in a statement.
Abuja, Nigeria, July 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an amendment to a media law adopted by the Gambian parliament that imposes lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines on individuals who use the Internet in any capacity to criticize government officials.
Nairobi, July 8, 2013--Two unidentified gunmen killed TV reporter Liban Abdullahi on Sunday evening in Galkayo, a central town in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to local journalists and news reports.
Nairobi, July 3, 2013--A court in the capital of the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland today convicted the manager and editor of the independent daily Hubaal of defamation and sentenced them to prison.
Hubaal's editor, Hussein Hassan Abdullahi, received two years, while the paper's manager, Mohamed Ahmed Jama, was sentenced to one year in jail on charges of defamation and false publication of news capable of disturbing public order, local journalists told CPJ. The court issued a fine of 2,000,000 Somaliland shillings (US$300) to Hussein and 1,000,000 shillings (US$150) to Mohamed, according to news reports.
Abuja, Nigeria, June 27, 2013--Nigerian authorities should stop the legal harassment of journalists in connection with a critical story about President Goodluck Jonathan's political plans, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A reporter and editor for the Nigerian daily Leadership, and a representative of the Leadership parent company, were arraigned in court today and charged anew with forgery along with new counts that could put them in prison for life.
At least four journalists were attacked in separate episodes on June 19, 2013, amid clashes in the Guinean capital, Conakry, between opposition militants and supporters of President Alpha Condé, according to CPJ interviews and news reports. The clashes erupted between opposition groups, mostly of Peul ethnicity, and the Guinean ruling party, mostly of Malinke ethnicity, following the much-delayed elections originally scheduled for July 8, 2012, and now set for June 30, 2013.
Cape Town, South Africa, June 27, 2013--A private website that documents alleged Zambian government corruption has been blocked in the country since Monday, its editor told CPJ. The Zambian Watchdog's Lloyd Himaambo has said that the website's staff believes the authorities are responsible for ordering the blocking.
Internet and mobile service providers blocked domestic access to the Zambian Watchdog, a site that is registered out of the country but publishes content by Zambian journalists and editors, Himaambo said. The editor told CPJ that access to the site was possible only via one of the country's three cellphone networks and that traffic to the website had been reduced by two thirds.
Dear President Obama: Ahead of your first trip to East Africa, we would like to bring to your attention the deteriorating state of press freedom in Tanzania. In your meetings with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, we ask that you discuss the critical importance of press freedom to economic development and democracy.
Fifty-five journalists fled their homes in the past year with help from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The most common reason to go into exile was the threat of violence, such as in Somalia and Syria, two of the most deadly countries in the world for the profession. Others fled the threat of prison, especially in Iran, where the government deepened its crackdown ahead of elections. A CPJ special report by Nicole Schilit
It was well past mid-day in Eastleigh, a shanty district on the east side of Nairobi, Kenya. The billows of dust rising from the rock-scarred road showed a government that had long lost interest in the neighborhood. A young man, struggling with horribly dry conditions, was fighting with his patrons. "Welahi, today's khat is so small. I need more," a Somali customer was complaining. "Pole, hakuna unvua" ("Sorry, no rain"). "Khat is getting expensive in these days," the young man tried to convince him in Kiswahili and English. Few knew that the young peddler was once a journalist in Ethiopia. They cared neither about his profession nor the reasons he had fled his home country. For them, he was just a dealer of khat, the mildly addictive green leaf that is chewed in East Africa. It was as simple as that.
In our special report, "Journalists in Exile," CPJ examines the issues facing journalists who are forced to flee their countries due to intimidation, threats, or fear of imprisonment.
Abdiaziz, 26, a Somali journalist exiled in Uganda, contributed to local and international media outlets before being arrested in January 2013. He was accused under Article 269 of the Somali penal code for insulting the government and spreading false evidence. His crime was interviewing the victim of an alleged rape. After the charges were thrown out and he was released from prison, he fled the country, under harassment and fearing for his safety.
Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (3:41)
Read CPJ's special report, "Journalists in Exile."
Cape Town, South Africa, June 18, 2013--All parties in Zimbabwe's government of national unity must respect the responsibility of journalists to document events and report the views of citizens, especially in the run-up to the country's elections in July, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In four different cases this month, reporters have been attacked apparently in connection with their coverage of the country's two major political parties.
Nairobi, June 17, 2013--Authorities in Burundi have been holding a journalist since Thursday on broad allegations of breaching national security, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the detention of Lucien Rukevya and calls on authorities to disclose its reasons for holding him.
New York, June 14, 2013---Authorities in Cameroon should investigate reports of journalists being threatened and obstructed from covering the site of an airplane crash on Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
"We are alarmed by reports of obstruction and intimidation involving an officer of Cameroon's top elite security unit, the BIR," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We call on authorities to conduct credible investigations and sanction any officers involved."
New York, June 13, 2013--A Cameroonian appellate court should overturn on appeal a criminal defamation conviction and sentence handed to a journalist on June 5 in the commercial city of Douala, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Finally, there is an organization for freelancers run by freelancers, and it could not come at a more opportune time. As anyone who has been one knows, being a freelance conflict reporter, in particular, can be tricky business.
Nairobi, June 12, 2013--The acting attorney general in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland should withdraw his request to suspend the independent daily Hubaal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A court ruled on Tuesday that the paper had been indefinitely suspended at the request of Aden Ahmed Mouse, according to news reports.
News coverage of the Kenyan Parliament elected in March 2013 is off to a rocky start. The press last week was kicked out of the media center in the National Assembly, and although the speaker tried to make assurances that overall access won't be affected, journalists are wary.
Journalists are back to work at Uganda's leading privately owned daily, The Monitor, after a 10-day siege of their newsroom by police. But that does not mean it is business as usual for the nation's press. The paper's owners at the Nation Media Group evidently begged and negotiated for its reopening--signaling to other media houses that they should toe the government line or face a similar stranglehold. Although the deliberations were successful in returning the paper to the newsstands, the long-term costs may prove exorbitant.
New York, June 7, 2013--Authorities in the Republic of Congo should lift the suspensions against four weekly newspapers in connection with their articles critical of government officials, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The suspensions were handed down by an official board whose 11 members are all hand-picked by the president.
The Angolan government has brought criminal charges against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais for his book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, published in Portugal in 2011, that documented allegations of homicides, torture, forced displacement of civilian settlements, and intimidation of inhabitants of the diamond-mining areas of the country's Lundas region.
Your Excellency Idriss Deby Itno: We are writing to express our concern about the ongoing imprisonment of Chadian journalists on anti-state charges. We believe the arrests of these reporters, simply for writing articles critical of the administration, turn dissenting citizens into criminals and stifle legitimate debate on issues of public interest.
From Cape Town to Lilongwe, four photographers on routine news assignments in major southern Africa cities were assaulted by security officials in the past two weeks. The details differ, but the heavy-handed actions in each case reflect a belief among those responsible for security that they are above the law and not publicly accountable. These recent attacks in southern Africa also highlight a wider phenomenon: Every day, somewhere in the world, news photographers are subjected to physical abuse by security and public officials who wish to suppress or control the powerful message delivered by images.
After high school, Bhekitemba Makhubu's father wanted him to study for a law degree. He refused, insisting on following in his father's footsteps as a journalist. Now, aged 43, he doesn't regret his choice, but besides his job as editor of the privately owned monthly magazine, The Nation, he is also studying for a law degree. On April 17, the Swaziland high court sentenced Bheki Makhubu, to two years imprisonment or a fine of US$20,000 for comments published in The Nation about the head of the country's supreme court. On a recent visit to Cape Town he spoke to CPJ about Swaziland's media environment, what motivates him, and the upcoming election. The interview has been edited for length.
New York, May 30, 2012--Ethiopian authorities have detained since Friday a reporter who sought to interview people evicted from their homes in a region where the government is building a contentious hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, according to a news report and the reporter's editor. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the case highlights authorities' disregard for the rule of law and its systematic efforts to suppress news critical of government officials.
Nairobi, May 30, 2013--Authorities in the Jubbaland region of Somalia must apprehend the gunmen who attacked freelance journalist Abdulkadir Abdirisak in the southern port town of Kismayo on Wednesday evening, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Nairobi, May 29, 2013--Ugandan police on Tuesday assaulted and detained several journalists who were among a crowd of demonstrators protesting the government's closure of four independent news outlets, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the police actions only highlight the government's continuing effort to suppress information concerning a supposed assassination plot.
"Having silenced news outlets for coverage of a critical public issue, Ugandan authorities are now trying to suppress protesters who want to call attention to the censorship," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "The indefinite closure of these media outlets serves as a daily reminder that the government wants to deny its citizens important sources of news and information."
The Pan African Parliament's (PAP) launch of a media freedom campaign through a "Dialogue on Media Freedom in Africa" in mid-May marks an important and welcome starting point. For too long, media freedom has been divorced from the debate around development and democratization when it has an integral role to play in promoting transparency, underpinning good governance, and enabling citizens to make informed decisions.
One day, every journalism school in the United States and beyond will offer a full three-credit, 15-week course in digital safety, along with more advanced classes. But that day has not yet come. Only a year ago, Alysia Santo reported in the Columbia Journalism Review that no American journalism school offered formal digital safety training. A number of groups, including CPJ, have tried to fill the void with digital security guides. This week, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University added to the resource stockpile with the publication of a guide that I've written, Digital Security Basics for Journalists.
Abuja, Nigeria, May 23, 2013--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should identify the motive behind the murder of a radio presenter who was found on Friday after being missing for 12 days, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
With more than a billion users, Facebook is not only the biggest global social network but also an increasingly important forum for journalists. In some repressive countries it has even served as a publishing platform for journalists whose newspapers or news websites have been closed down. That is why journalists and bloggers should note today's news that after a year of standing on the threshold, Facebook has decided to step inside the Global Network Initiative tent.
Police arbitrarily arrested Michael Koma, the managing editor of South Sudan's daily Juba Monitor, on May 2 and detained him for four days following the publication of an article critical of the deputy security minister. A veteran journalist, Koma has experienced firsthand the poor state of press freedom within Africa's newest country. CPJ spoke with him briefly this week.
Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit: We are writing to express our deep concern about the deteriorating state of press freedom in your country. In the past six months, CPJ has documented several cases of attacks, intimidation, and detention of journalists by security agents in South Sudan and we are concerned that this harassment has led to self-censorship and even exile among the local press corps. We urge you to use the power of your office to ensure that journalists are allowed to work freely without harassment and censure from state security officials.
Nairobi, May 21, 2013--Ugandan police surrounded the Kampala offices of two private newspapers for seven hours on Monday, barring access to the premises, disabling printing presses, and effectively halting publication indefinitely, according to news reports. The police said they had search warrants to find documents related to a letter written by an army official that described an assassination plot.
Dear Mr. Secretary: We are writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating state of press freedom in Ethiopia, where you will attend this year's African Union Summit. A vibrant press and civil society is fundamental to hold governments accountable and to ensure long-term development and stability. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, we ask that you include the issue of press freedom in your discussion of the challenges that Africa will face in the next half-century.
New York, May 15, 2013--Ethiopian police in Addis Ababa questioned an editor for several hours today in connection with a story published in October about the widow of the late Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi, according to news reports.
The working environment for journalists and media workers in Kenya is increasingly hostile, with at least 91 percent of journalists at local media outlets having faced security threats in the course of their work, a new study has revealed. The harassment of and attacks against journalists, with nearly 40 percent coming from politicians, indicates a need for urgent attention from both state and non-state actors if press freedom is to be guaranteed in the country.
While Uganda's politicians and social media are abuzz over a sensational letter reportedly written by a top security official about a high-level assassination plot, police have dutifully harassed the mainstream press in a bid to suppress the chatter.
Most governments, even repressive ones, at least give lip service to supporting freedom of the press--especially on World Press Freedom Day, May 3. But in Liberia this month, Othello Daniel Warrick, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's chief security aide, shocked local journalists by threatening them and calling them "terrorists" at a public event to mark the occasion, according to news reports and local media groups.
New York, May 13, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of an independent radio station on April 22 in retaliation for its broadcast of an interview that authorities said incited secessionism.
Dear President Zuma: We are writing to express our concern about South Africa's Protection of State Information Bill and join with civil society organizations in your country in urging you to send the bill back to the National Assembly for further revision when it comes to you for confirmation.
Cape Town, South Africa, May 8, 2013--Police in Harare have filed criminal charges against two Zimbabwean journalists on accusations they published "false statements prejudicial to the state" in a story about behind-the-scenes discussions between military leaders and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Nigeria's press freedom record is on the decline.
For the first time since 2008, when CPJ began publishing its annual Impunity Index, Nigeria has made the list of the "worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press."
Burundi's government took unusually swift action last week in response to the police shooting of a radio reporter, after the journalist sought information at a roadblock in the capital Bujumbura where market vendors were allegedly being "taxed" for passage. Perhaps the shooting could have been averted if authorities had bothered to discipline officers involved in previous attacks on journalists.
Gerardo Ortega's news and talk show on DWAR in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, went off as usual on the morning of January 24, 2011. Ortega, like many radio journalists in the Philippines, was outspoken about government corruption, particularly as it concerned local mining issues. His show over, Ortega left the studios and headed to a local clothing store to do some shopping. There, he was shot in the back of the head. His murder underlines the characteristics and security challenges common to many of the killings documented as part of CPJ's new Impunity Index: A well-known local journalist whose daily routines were easily tracked, Ortega had been followed and killed by a hired gunman. He had been threatened many times before in response to his tough political commentary, a pattern that shows up time and again on CPJ's Impunity Index.
Dear Chairperson Zuma: We ask that you mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2013, by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty.
New York, May 2, 2013---In response to today's ruling by Ethiopia's Supreme Court to uphold an 18-year prison sentence imposed on award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega and reject his appeal, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
"This ruling trivializes the serious crime of terrorism, upholds a politically motivated travesty of justice, and lessens Ethiopia's international standing," CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said. "As a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ethiopia should comply with its obligations under international law and its own constitution and release Eskinder unconditionally. The persecution of Eskinder and other journalists is the hallmark of a regime fearful of the opinions of its citizens."
New York, April 30, 2013--A senior administration official in Somaliland has said that police officers were the perpetrators of an April 24 attack on the owner of a media network, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous republic to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice.
Two masked gunmen burst into the offices of the critical independent daily Hubaal in the capital, Hargeisa, at around 11:30 p.m. as the paper's employees were proofreading the next day's issue, according to local journalists and news reports. One assailant fired at least once at Mohamed Ahmed Jama, but missed, the reports said. Mohamed is the owner and manager of the Hubaal Media Network, which publishes Hubaal and the English daily The Independent, according to Hubaal Editor-in-Chief Hassan Hussein Abdillahi. Mohamed is also the manager of both papers.
In the past, donors and groups providing security to journalists in less-developed nations tended to export a Western, military-style of training designed for a war-time environment. But the danger of covering combat is one thing. Being fired upon by a motorcycle-riding assassin is another--as is being sexually molested in a crowd, discovering a video camera in one's bedroom, or having one's phone calls intercepted. And then there is emotional toll of losing dear colleagues, and wondering whether you or your family will be next.
That is a bogus @ap tweet.-- AP CorpComm (@AP_CorpComm) April 23, 2013
More than a quarter million Twitter accounts have been hacked worldwide, the social media company disclosed in February, but Tuesday's attack on The Associated Press's verified account, @AP, had unusual effect. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 143 points after someone hijacked the AP's account to falsely tweet that two explosions at the White House had wounded President Barack Obama. The market recovered, but the hacking--just the latest in a series of attacks on news organizations--sent shudders through a profession that's grown accustomed to breaking its news on Twitter.
New York, April 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Swaziland's appeals court to overturn last week's conviction of an editor for "contempt by scandalizing the court" in relation to two articles criticizing the country's chief justice.
New York, April 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the passage in the Senate of highly restrictive amendments to Burundi's Press Law and calls on President Pierre Nkurunziza to reject the bill when it comes to him for confirmation.
It seemed clear-cut and sadly familiar: A journalist was shot and killed while walking in Mogadishu, one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. Yet in the four weeks that have passed since those initial reports from international and local news agencies--accounts that were then amplified by the United Nations, CPJ, and numerous human rights groups--virtually everything about the case has been cast into doubt. Was there a murder, after all? Who was the woman said to have been targeted? Does she even exist, at least as she was described? What did the people described as eyewitnesses really see? And why, after telling local journalists early on that the case was actually being investigated as a false report, have police gone silent for weeks?
Nairobi, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Somali authorities to keep their promise to prosecute journalists' killers by investigating the murder of Mohamed Ibrahim Raage. Two unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed around 5:30 p.m. Sunday near his home in Mogadishu's Dharkenley district, according to local journalists.
New York, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists protests Ethiopian authorities' transfer of independent newspaper editor Woubshet Taye to a remote prison several hours away from his family's home. Woubshet has been imprisoned since June 2011 on vague terrorism charges that CPJ has determined to be unsubstantiated.
Lagos, Nigeria, April 19, 2013--Two Nigerian journalists and their employer have been charged with forgery in connection with their publication of a memo reported to be from President Goodluck Jonathan, according to news reports. If convicted, the journalists could face life terms.
Lagos, Nigeria, April 17, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a recent decision by the Nigerian government to ban the exhibition and distribution of a documentary film on corruption in the state's management of oil wealth, "Fuelling Poverty."
Dear President Nkurunziza: We are writing to bring to your attention restrictive amendments to Burundi's 2003 Press Law that were passed in the National Assembly on April 3. The bill will go before the Senate and if passed, will soon come to you for confirmation. We ask that you use the power of your office to reject this severely restrictive bill, thus reaffirming your government's commitment to press freedom.
Lagos, Nigeria, April 10, 2013--Nigerian police should stop harassing the staff of the leading independent daily Leadership over a story critical of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.On Monday, police in the capital Abuja summoned four Leadership journalists for questioning over an April 3 story entitled "Outrage Trails Presidential Directive on Tinubu, APC," according to the newspaper. The story reported on public criticism of Jonathan following Leadership's publication a day earlier of a purported presidential memorandum in which Jonathan allegedly laid out plans to increase petrol prices and sabotage a merger of opposition political parties ahead of the 2015 elections by targeting their leaders' business interests.
Dear Minister Birhan Hailu: We are writing to bring to your attention the case of Ethiopian journalist and teacher Reeyot Alemu, whose health has deteriorated since her imprisonment in June 2011 on terrorism charges and who is now being threatened with solitary confinement. The Ethiopian Ministry of Justice has publicly subscribed to a vision in which "human and democratic rights are respected," yet Reeyot's full human rights are being denied to her in Kality Prison.
Authorities in Ethiopia describe Eskinder Nega, a prominent columnist and government critic jailed since September 2011 on vague terrorism charges, as a dangerous individual bent on violent revolution. However, in an opinion handed down in 2012--publicized only this week by Washington, D.C.-based legal advocacy group Freedom Now--a United Nations panel of five independent experts ruled that Eskinder's imprisonment came "as a result of his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression."
New York, April 5, 2013--Police in Somalia say they have been holding a woman in custody for much of this week after they say questions were raised about the veracity of reports that a journalist was fatally shot in Mogadishu on March 24.
Lagos, Nigeria, April 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities in Togo to investigate an apparently deliberate hit-and-run attack Wednesday on freelance photojournalist and videographer Koffi Djidonou Frédéric Attipou.
New York, April 3, 2013--In a wave of censorship, Cameroon has indefinitely banned two TV programs for what regulators considered violent content and another three radio programs on vague charges of ethics violations, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the move, which also includes the suspension of at least seven journalists.
New York, April 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's decision by a judge in Mali to grant bail to a journalist who was jailed for 27 days in connection with his paper's publication of a letter critical of a military leader. CPJ calls on the public prosecutor to drop the charges against Boukary Daou, an editor of the daily Le Républicain.
Daou was released from the central prison in Bamako, the capital, at around 3 p.m. after the judge granted his application for bail pending trial, Assane Koné, editor-in-chief of the paper, told CPJ. Daou told CPJ he shared a cell with about 50 other inmates. Daou has been charged with incitement to mutiny and publishing false information and faces up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 150 million CFA francs (US$293,000) if convicted, according to local journalists. His trial is scheduled to resume on April 16.
Nairobi, April 1, 2013--A correspondent for The Star daily newspaper was found dead Sunday morning in his house in the coastal city of Mombasa, local journalists told CPJ. A housemate found reporter Bernard Wesonga with blood on his nose and mouth at around 11:30 a.m., Star Deputy Editor Charles Kerich said.
Last week, two gunmen waited near the home of a young Somali journalist, Rahmo Abdulkadir, who had recently returned to the capital from the Galgadud district in central Somalia where she worked as a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper). According to local journalists, 25-year-old Rahmo had just left an Internet café in Mogadishu around 9:30 p.m. on March 24 with a friend when she was shot and killed. Her companion was not harmed.
New York, March 28, 2013--An appellate court in Cameroon should overturn the defamation conviction and jail sentence handed to a newspaper editor on Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, March 26, 2013--At least two news outlets were raided in the Central African Republic on Sunday when rebel groups ousted the president from power, according to news reports and local press freedom groups.
Nairobi, March 26, 2013--An appellate court judge in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Monday upheld the criminal conviction of an editor who is serving a one-year prison sentence in connection with an opinion column, according to local journalists.
Beatrice Mtetwa, a tenacious lawyer who has won accolades for stubbornly defending journalists and others persecuted by Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, regained her freedom today after a hellish week that began on March 17 when she was arrested and charged with the criminal offense of "defeating or obstructing the course of justice."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Subsequent to the publication of this report, questions were raised about the veracity of the account given by the primary sources. CPJ has published two follow-up reports detailing those questions, which raise doubts as to whether a killing took place as described. CPJ continues to monitor the case.
Nairobi, March 25, 2013--Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Sunday evening in Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
"He's free! He's free!" a friend of mine from Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, shouted down the phone line on Sunday. For a fleeting second I did not know whom he referred to, given the high number of journalists imprisoned in the Horn region of Africa--but then it dawned on me: Abdiaziz Abdinuur had finally found justice. The 25-year-old freelance reporter was arrested on January 10 in Mogadishu for the most incomprehensible alleged crime: conducting an interview.
Dear Minister: We are writing to express our concern about the arrest on Sunday of award-winning human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and her subsequent detention by police in defiance of an order issued by a high court judge. We believe this invalidates the criminal proceedings instituted against her on Wednesday and constitutes an affront to the constitution and legal system of your country.
Lagos, Nigeria, March 21, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Wednesday's ruling by Togo's Constitutional Court to reject repressive amendments to a media law that granted the state-run media regulator sweeping powers of censorship.
Kenya has passed peacefully through its election period, but questions still hang over the legitimacy of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta's victory--as well as over the future of the country's media coverage. During polling, challenges arose for both local and international media, and they have not subsided. For the foreign press, it is now unclear how to get accreditation to report in the country. Local journalists are worried about the rise of self-censorship, and freedom of expression advocates are concerned by plans for vague regulations on hate speech.
Several journalists and news outlets covering political unrest in the capital, Conakry, were attacked in late February and March 2013, according to local journalists and news reports.
Portuguese journalists are increasingly concerned by Angola's growing investment and influence in their country. Buoyed by petrodollars and diamonds, powerful Angolan interests have been indulging in a buying spree in their former colonial power. Angolan capital invested in Portugal increased 35 times in the past decade, according to news reports. In a process often acidly described in Lisbon as a form of "reverse colonization," Angolans have gobbled up not only significant chunks of Portugal's banking, telecommunications, and energy companies, but also invested in the Portuguese media sector.
Lagos, Nigeria, March 19, 2013--A journalist in Mali was charged on Monday with incitement to mutiny and publishing false information in connection with his publication of an article that was critical of a former coup leader, according to news reports.
Boukary Daou, a top editor for the daily Le Républicain, has been in custody since March 6, according to news reports. He was held incommunicado by State Security for eight days before being handed over to the Judicial Investigation Brigade of the police. If convicted, the journalist faces a maximum prison sentence of three years and fine of 150 million CFA francs, Assane Koné, editor-in-chief of Le Républicain, told CPJ. His lawyers have filed a petition seeking his release on bail pending trial. His next court date is scheduled for April 16, Koné said.
Lagos, Nigeria, March 18, 2013--Togolese police on Thursday fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse journalists protesting new censorship authority granted to the government media regulator, according to news reports and local journalists.
Nairobi, March 18, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by a recent directive from authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region banning local broadcasters from airing content produced outside the region.
Mali's press has endured one attack too many.
Since the coup d'état of March 22, 2012, CPJ has documented a staggering 62 anti-press violations across Mali. Journalists and media houses have become ready targets of attacks, threats, intimidation, assassination attempts, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and censorship by separatist and Islamist militant groups and government security forces alike.
Nairobi, March 12, 2013--Somali police attacked and obstructed more than a half-dozen journalists who were seeking to cover a rape trial in Mogadishu on Saturday, as authorities continue to struggle in meeting law enforcement and free expression demands in sexual assault cases. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities to hold the officers accountable.
Lagos, Nigeria, March 11, 2013--Authorities in Mali must investigate an attack on a critical radio journalist that came two weeks after he received threats warning him to resign from the station, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Amid a tense presidential election, Kenyans have avoided a repeat of the deadly violence that followed the vote in 2007, when half a million people were uprooted and more than 1,000 people were killed. Still, the situation today is fraught. Ethnic identity dominates the nation's political divisions--and those same loyalties can undermine solidarity in the press corps.
Today marks International Women's Day. Hashtags like #IWD and #InternationalWomensDay have been trending on Twitter. Among the twitterati who voiced their support for women's rights was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He tweeted:
PM: Let me reiterate in this House the commitment of our govt. to ensuring the dignity, safety and security of every woman of this country.-- Dr Manmohan Singh (@PMOIndia) March 6, 2013
Nairobi, March 7, 2013--Authorities in Tanzania must immediately investigate a vicious attack on a veteran journalist in Dar es Salaam, the capital, on Tuesday night, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, March 6, 2013--State security agents in Mali detained an editor today in connection with his newspaper's publication of an open letter criticizing a financial package awarded to a former coup leader, according to news reports and local journalists.
Six agents of State Security, Mali's intelligence agency, arrested Boukary Daou, a top editor for the daily Le Républicain, in the capital, Bamako, according to Assane Koné, the paper's editor-in-chief. Koné told CPJ that several journalists went to the agency's headquarters to inquire about Daou, but officials denied having him in custody. Local journalists and news reports, which cited an unnamed Malian security official, later confirmed the journalist's detention.
Nairobi, March 6, 2013--Burundian authorities today released Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter who has been imprisoned for 16 months on charges related to his interview with a rebel leader. The circumstances of the release were not immediately clear, and the Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to vacate Ruvakuki's conviction and prison sentence.
Journalists could be seen rushing from polling station to polling station Monday to see long queues of determined Kenyan voters in what was apparently a largely peaceful election, according to the Deputy Director of Kenya's statutory media council, Victor Bwire. But leading up to the vote, many journalists worked in a climate of fear; and many of them say they are still wary that, once results are in, they will face attacks and other challenges such as they experienced in the aftermath of the last presidential election in 2007.
Nairobi, March 4, 2013--Sunday's decision by an appellate court in Mogadishu to uphold the conviction of a freelance Somali journalist in connection with his interview of a reported rape victim prolongs a miscarriage of justice and is a direct assault on press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, March 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decision by Nigeria's media regulatory body to shut down a radio station in connection with a broadcast that questioned the local government's motives in an anti-polio vaccination program.
Nairobi, March 1, 2013--Authorities in Zimbabwe have stepped up their crackdown on independent news coverage in the country by raiding the production studios of a radio station and confiscating radios distributed by nongovernmental organizations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Nairobi, February 28, 2013--Zimbabwean authorities' seizure of hand-cranked and solar-powered radios distributed by nongovernmental organizations prevents local citizens from accessing diverse sources of information in the run-up to the country's general elections in July, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At any given time over the past two years, as wars raged in Libya and then Syria, and as other conflicts ground on in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a number of journalists have been held captive by a diverse array of forces, from militants and rebels to criminals and paramilitaries. And at any given time, a small handful of these cases--sometimes one or two, sometimes more--have been purposely kept out of the news media. That is true today.
Election-related violence is a worry for journalists in many countries, but perhaps nowhere more so than Kenya, where presidential polls will be held March 4. In the aftermath of the nation's last presidential elections in 2007, over one thousand people were killed in ethnic and political violence, live news broadcasts were banned, and the press faced a torrent of threats, leading to widespread self-censorship. Already, in recent weeks, some journalists have been harassed and their equipment confiscated, while media houses have been threatened in relation to coverage.
Spirits of journalists in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to practice the profession, were lifted slightly this week after Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon made several auspicious announcements. The key concern on the minds of journalists in the capital, Mogadishu, is access to justice--both in terms of journalists' own court appearances and in terms of solving the many outstanding murder cases of their colleagues. Twelve journalists were killed in the line of duty last year, the worst on record, and there hasn't been a single prosecution.
On Tuesday, Burundi's press corps did what it has done for the past three weeks: protest the imprisonment of one of its own. Hassan Ruvakuki is a reporter jailed since November 28, 2011 on anti-state charges; for the first time, the journalists wore white t-shirts showing Ruvakuki in his green prison uniform. But this time, the reaction by police caught journalists by surprise.
New York, February 15, 2013--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should release pending appeal a journalist who was sentenced to six months in prison in December on defamation charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist was taken into custody on Tuesday.
Police arrested Joachim Diana Gikupa, editor of the private daily La Colombe in Kinshasa, and held him at a local court before transferring him to Malaka central prison, according to local news reports. Gikupa's lawyers filed an appeal, saying the journalist was in poor health and should be released on bail, according to the U.N.-backed broadcaster Radio Okapi. Gikupa was also ordered to pay US$20,000 in damages, local press freedom groups reported.
Abuja, Nigeria, February 15, 2013--Authorities should halt their harassment of a Nigerian journalist whose paper published allegations of extrajudicial detentions being carried out by the country's special army unit, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Armed officers of Nigeria's Joint Task Force and members of the State Secret Service (SSS) raided the Kaduna home of Musa Muhammad Awwal, an editor of the Hausa-language weekly Al-Mizan, early on Thursday, according to news reports. The agents seized Awwal's laptop and phone and took him into custody, saying they had been told to bring him to Abuja, the capital, Al-Mizan Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Musa, said in a press release. The officers did not cite a reason for the detention or produce a warrant, Abdulmumin Giwa, an editor at Al-Mizan, told CPJ. Giwa also said that the Nigeria Union of Journalists had confirmed that Awwal was being held by the SSS.
CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)
Police assaulted and obstructed numerous journalists covering opposition demonstrations, repeating an abusive pattern set during the previous year’s presidential campaign. Police officials repeatedly professed determination to investigate the attacks but ultimately held no officer publicly accountable. Several journalists began to seek redress in the courts, although no cases had been resolved by late year. President Yoweri Museveni signed the Uganda Communications Act in September. The measure ostensibly merged two regulatory bodies, but it also imposed vague new requirements that broadcasters respect “public morality” and “ethical broadcasting standards.” Press freedom organizations said the law also granted the Information Ministry broad powers to modify broadcast licenses at will.
President Faure Gnassingbé and his allies used the multiple levers of power to dominate the political and media landscapes. Coverage of dissenting political views came under attack from government regulators who censored critical programming, and from security agents who violently obstructed journalists covering protests. Government regulators barred a popular current affairs call-in radio program in July, while continuing their two-year-old ban on another station known for its vernacular political debate program. Street protests against human rights violations and abuses of power flared throughout the year but were violently dispersed by security forces. CPJ documented at least three instances in which security agents or police assaulted journalists covering the demonstrations. Journalists filming or photographing police dispersal tactics were targeted. Ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2013, Gnassingbé’s ruling majority in the National Assembly passed legislation giving its loyalists control over local polls and vote counting, setting off another round of public protests by the opposition, according to news reports.
A journalist was killed in the line of duty in September, the first Tanzanian work-related fatality documented by CPJ in the 20 years it has kept detailed records. Police attacked veteran TV reporter Daudi Mwangosi, who was shot point-blank with a tear-gas canister and died at the scene, witnesses said. Mwangosi, of the private Channel 10 station, had confronted officers over the arrest of another journalist during an opposition rally, news reports said. The authorities arrested a junior officer in connection with the killing, but they didn’t pursue at least six other officers thought to be associated with the death, according to a report released by the independent Media Council of Tanzania. The government can use 17 repressive, media-related statutes to crack down on critical coverage. Under the Newspaper Act of 1976, the information ministry indefinitely banned the Swahili-language weekly MwanaHalisi in July on vague charges of sedition and false reporting in unspecified articles. The paper’s chief editor, Jabir Idrissa, said he suspected the publication was targeted for its coverage of a physicians’ strike in the country and the abduction and torture of Steven Ulimboka, a doctor leading the strikers. Reports from MwanaHalisi had suggested the authorities were involved in the attack on Ulimboka, but the government denied the allegations, news reports said.
Despite a relatively peaceful presidential election and the government’s continuing control of the capital, Mogadishu, a record number of Somali journalists were killed in 2012. Amid comparative calm in the capital, targeted killings of journalists and political figures continued, most notably in a deadly September blast at a café frequented by reporters and government officials. Given the ouster of Al-Shabaab insurgents from Mogadishu in 2011, the continuing killings raised concern that journalists and others were being targeted by a widening field of politically motivated antagonists. Though most fatalities occurred in the capital, unknown gunmen killed two journalists in separate attacks in Galkayo, a commercial hub of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Three radio stations were forced to close during the year, two on the orders of Al-Shabaab and one at the directive of Puntland officials. Pervasive insecurity has forced dozens of Somali journalists to flee into exile in the last five years, the highest number in the world. Although peaceful in comparison to the rest of the country, the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland had a high number of journalist detentions.
President Paul Kagame used his August address before the East African Community Media Summit to cast the domestic press “as an important partner in our country’s development” while accusing Western journalists of misrepresentation that “derails our progress or even fuels conflict.” The dual theme--calling on domestic journalists to advance a government agenda while depicting international news media as adversaries--has become common among regional leaders. But critical journalists are seen as foes, not partners, by Kagame’s government. The authorities have engaged in several years of aggressive harassment of critical journalists, forcing many into exile, landing some in prison, and sowing self-censorship among the rest. CPJ identified three imprisoned journalists when it conducted its annual worldwide survey on December 1, and at least two others who were detained for significant periods during the year. Red lines appeared to be easily crossed and harshly punished: The authorities detained a radio presenter for nearly 100 days after the journalist mistakenly used a phrase deemed offensive to survivors of the 1994 genocide. Although Kagame spoke in support of media reform at the summit, three bills backed by the Rwandan press remained stalled in parliament. The bills would provide access to government information, create a media ombudsman independent of the government, and establish a public broadcaster.
President Goodluck Jonathan struggled to maintain stability as Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group based in northern Nigeria, carried out a wave of terrorist attacks against churches, government buildings, and, for the first time, news outlets. In April, the group staged coordinated attacks on offices of three newspapers in two cities, and threatened reprisals against 14 news outlets it accused of misrepresenting its activities. The threats forced many journalists to relocate from northern Nigeria. The press corps also faced persistent harassment at the hands of the government: CPJ documented more than 100 assaults, cases of obstruction, and other anti-press actions by security forces and officials. Jonathan also came under fire for his decision to suspend consumer fuel subsidies, which prompted a nationwide strike and street protests in this top oil-producing nation. Protesters surrounded the studios of the national public broadcaster Nigerian Television Authority and the private Africa Independent Television, two prominent outlets seen as pro-government, to demand more coverage of their concerns. The anger spread to social media with the #OccupyNigeria hashtag trending globally on Twitter.
After an extended period of relative calm and freedom, the Malian press faced severe threats amid a military coup and an armed insurrection. In March, a junta ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré just weeks before his second and final term would have expired. Touré had been the target of public discontent over setbacks suffered by the army in its fight against ethnic Tuareg separatists of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad in Mali's Saharan north. The rebels allied with hard-line Islamist militants to take advantage of the political turmoil after the coup, seizing Timbuktu and other northern cities and towns. Islamist groups imposed draconian censorship on dozens of radio stations, and shut down at least one. Their orders included bans on music and demands that programming feature Quranic recitations, local journalists said. Journalists operating in rebel and Islamist-controlled areas were also subjected to intense intimidation; those in government-controlled areas faced kidnappings, detentions, and assaults.
In the run-up to the March 2013 elections, tensions ran high among local journalists, who feared a repeat of the violent aftermath of the disputed 2007 vote in which the press was targeted and harassed in connection with news coverage. Several journalists were threatened or attacked throughout 2012 in reprisal for their reporting on official corruption. CPJ found that most of the anti-press episodes took place in Western Kenya. The installation of fiber-optic cable networks drove up the number of Internet users. With its Internet penetration having doubled since 2010, Kenya boasted the highest rate in East Africa. The country also leads East Africa in mobile phone use with 29 million clients, according to International Telecommunication Union data. Kenya continued to be the main regional refuge for journalists fleeing their home countries in fear of attack or imprisonment. Since 2007, at least 52 journalists have resettled in Kenya, but often under extreme hardship.
The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August in a Belgian hospital brought an end to a 21-year rule characterized by repression of dissent and iron-fisted control of the independent press. His fatal illness was shrouded in secrecy. After Meles disappeared from public view in June, the government played down rumors of his illness and suppressed in-depth domestic reporting. The government also faced rare demonstrations by members of the Muslim community, who protested what they called government interference in their affairs. Security forces violently dispersed the gatherings, cracking down on journalists who reported on them, and forcing three Muslim-oriented newspapers to close. The government drew widespread international condemnation for the convictions of nine Ethiopian journalists on vague and politicized terrorism charges. The journalists, five of them exiles tried in absentia, were handed sentences ranging from eight years to life imprisonment. The government finally freed two Swedish journalists who were imprisoned for 14 months for reporting on separatist Ogaden rebels. Six journalists remained behind bars in late year, including award-winning writer Eskinder Nega.
CPJ identified Eritrea as the most censored country in the world in 2012. No independent domestic news outlets have been allowed to operate since a widespread September 2001 government crackdown on dissent. The last accredited foreign news reporter was expelled in 2007. State media operate under the rigid control of Information Minister Ali Abdu, who uses intimidation and imprisonment to enforce a government-approved message. The Red Sea nation is the continent’s leading jailer of journalists; the detainees include independent reporters and editors swept up in the 2001 crackdown, along with numerous state media journalists who have somehow violated the government’s strict controls. The detainees are held without charge and in secret locations. President Isaias Afwerki has consistently refused to account for the whereabouts, legal status, or health of the jailed journalists, or even confirm reports that some have died in custody. Fearful state media journalists have fled the country in large numbers. Eritrea has the fifth highest number of exiled journalists in the world, according to CPJ data. In July, the U.N. Human Rights Council unanimously condemned “widespread and systematic violations” and appointed a representative to further investigate abuses, according to news reports.
Journalists reporting on renewed conflict in the east were repeatedly censored and intimidated by local officials, the national government, and rebel forces. Fighting resumed in the east after President Joseph Kabila said his government would try to arrest Bosco Ntaganda, a former warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crime charges. In response, Ntaganda joined with army mutineers to form a rebel group that took control of key towns in North Kivu province. The state-run media regulatory agency barred all broadcasters from airing programs discussing the conflict; several radio stations were suspended indefinitely after interviewing the mutineers. At least three journalists fled into hiding after being threatened in reprisal for their reporting on the conflict. Tensions between DRC and neighboring Rwanda also grew after the publication in June of a leaked U.N. report that blamed Kigali for providing military assistance to the rebels. The same month, Communications Minister Lambert Mende accused a Kinshasa newspaper of tribalism and indefinitely suspended the publication in connection with an editorial critical of Congolese of Rwandan ancestry. Although danger was severe in the east, CPJ also documented numerous instances in which officials in Bas Congo detained and intimidated critical journalists.
Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world's worst jailer. A CPJ special report
Attacks on the Press | Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand
Abuja, Nigeria, February 13, 2013--Authorities in Nigeria's northern state of Kano should drop the criminal charges filed on Tuesday against two radio journalists who have been detained since Sunday in connection with their criticism of local officials' handling of a polio vaccination campaign, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Two editors of the private trimonthly Abba Garde (The Sentinel) were harassed and attacked in N'Djamena, the capital, in December 2012, according to local journalists and news reports. Local journalists told CPJ they believed the attacks were in reprisal for the paper's critical coverage of the government.
Four men in plainclothes claiming to be police officers briefly detained three journalists inside an office of a college in Aka Offot, a suburb of Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state, on February 6, 2013, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalists were reporting on allegations of mismanagement at the federal government-run Science and Technical College, news reports said.
Nairobi, February 8, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the revival of criminal charges against Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn today in what appears to be a politicized court hearing designed to censor one of the few critical voices left in the country.
Nairobi, February 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the conviction and prison sentence handed down today against a Somali freelance journalist charged with insulting the government by interviewing a woman who said she was raped by government forces. CPJ calls for the sentence to be overturned and for reporter Abdiaziz Abdinuur to be released immediately pending appeal.
"Let's have faith in our judiciary system," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed told an audience Monday at London's Chatham House, the foreign affairs think-tank.
On Wednesday, the Swedish newspaper Expressen published what it described as an exclusive interview with Ali Abdu--Eritrea's long-time information minister, government spokesman, and censor-in-chief--who vanished from public view in November. The piece confirmed that Ali had gone into exile, but it shed no light on the whereabouts and well-being of more than two dozen imprisoned journalists.
Nairobi, February 1, 2013--Ethiopian security forces have detained for two weeks without charge the editor of a newsmagazine and accused him of incitement to terrorism, according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release Solomon Kebede immediately and halt their harassment of journalists affiliated with the weekly Ye Muslimoch Guday.
Dear Prime Minister Cameron: In anticipation of your meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud next week, we would like to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Somali government, as well as the increasing number of unsolved journalist murders in the country.
Three weeks after France's military intervention in Mali, the war remains largely "without images and without facts," as described by Jean-Paul Mari, special envoy for the newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur. Although journalists have been allowed to follow French and Malian forces into the towns that have been recovered from armed Islamist groups, the real battlefields and front lines remain off limits.
An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:
Dear President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud: We are writing to express our concern about a Somali journalist who has been imprisoned since January 10 for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by government soldiers. We are also concerned by recent statements you made in Washington indicating your administration will not tolerate negative coverage by the local press. We urge you to ensure the journalist is released immediately and to follow up on your commitment to create a task force to investigate Somalia's unsolved journalist murders.
The French army is often called la Grande Muette, or "the Great Silent." The war in Mali confirms the French military's well-deserved reputation of being secretive about front-line actions. "Locking the information is more in the culture of the French army than of the U.S. army," says Maurice Botbol, director of La Lettre du Continent. In the first two weeks of military operations against Islamist militant groups in Mali, the French army has released only a blurry video of an air attack at an undisclosed location.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 24, 2013--An appellate court in Benin should overturn the conviction and toss out a prison sentence handed to the director of a private television station last week in connection with a broadcast of a press conference in September in which a former presidential adviser criticized President Boni Yayi, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
When the story is so important but the risks are so high, journalists must keep safety at the forefront of their thinking. That's especially true for freelancers who often do not have the support of a large news organization. Preparation, peer networking, and smart planning can help improve the odds of not only surviving hostile situations but succeeding in one's work.
Two soldiers beat Laolu Harolds, assistant editor of the daily Nigerian Tribune, on January 8, 2013, while he attempted to take pictures of soldiers demolishing local shops in Oyo state, according to news reports. The soldiers were affiliated with the government's demolition task force team, the reports said.
Nairobi, January 22, 2013--Kenyan authorities must hold to account soldiers with the General Service Unit, Kenya's paramilitary force, in connection with their reported assault of two journalists on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
What is the humanitarian function of journalism in wartime? How does international humanitarian law protect journalists? Why is impunity the most important challenge facing journalists working in conflict zones?
Nairobi, January 18, 2013--A veteran producer for the Shabelle Media Network was gunned down today in Mogadishu, the fifth Shabelle journalist killed in 13 months. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this murder and calls on Somali authorities to not only investigate, but to follow up on the investigative task force on journalist murders that was promised by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud in November.
Unidentified assailants shot Shabelle producer Abdihared Osman Aden at around 7 a.m. today while he was walking to work in the Wadajir district of the capital, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalist, who was shot at least three times, died at a local hospital, the sources said.
At 8 o'clock Tuesday morning roughly 50 Burundian journalists silently marched around the courthouses in the capital, Bujumbura, and the offices of the justice minister, protesting the imprisonment of their colleague, Hassan Ruvakuki.
"They sentenced him to three years without following the law," said Patrick Nduwimana, one of the protest organizers and the interim director of local private radio station Bonesha FM. A week earlier, on Tuesday, January 8, an appeals court in Burundi had sentenced Ruvakuki, a reporter for Bonesha FM and the French government-backed Radio France Internationale, to three years imprisonment for "working with a criminal group."
Abuja, Nigeria, January 15, 2013--Nigerian authorities should determine the motive behind the murder of an editor on Saturday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 14, 2013--At least four journalists were reported injured by police while covering an anti-government protest in Togo's capital, Lomé, on Thursday, according to news reports. Several of the journalists, along with local press freedom group SOS Journalistes en Danger, said police had targeted a group of reporters with tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to prevent them from covering the demonstrations, the reports said.
Nairobi, January 11, 2013--Somali authorities should immediately release a freelance journalist who has been in custody in Mogadishu since Thursday for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by government soldiers, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 9, 2013--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should bring to account soldiers involved in a raid on a radio station in the eastern town of Kabambare, and the arbitrary detention and beating of two of the station's journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 9, 2013--Gambian authorities should immediately release Abdoulie John, a journalist who has been detained without charge in Banjul since Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. John has been harassed by the Gambian National Intelligence Agency since early December, news reports said.
John, editor of the online news website Jollof News and a contributor to The Associated Press, was summoned for questioning at the headquarters of the NIA at around 2 p.m. on Monday, Lamin Jahateh, a representative of the Gambia Press Union, who was with John at the time, told CPJ. John was questioned for about three hours, he said. Emil Touray, president of the union, told CPJ that the agents took John to his home where they conducted a search, before returning him to custody.
In a ruling that lasted five minutes, a new judge appointed to the Ethiopian Court of Cassation in the capital, Addis Ababa, rejected on January 8, 2012, an appeal filed on behalf of award-winning journalist Reeyot Alemu, according to local journalists.
Nairobi, January 8, 2013--An appeals court in Burundi today dropped terrorism charges against jailed journalist Hassan Ruvakuki and reduced his sentence from life to three years in prison, according to local journalists and news reports.
Nairobi, January 7, 2013--Malawian authorities must immediately investigate the reported assault of a radio journalist who said he was punched by a business leader angered by an interview question.
Several journalists reported being attacked in the aftermath of Ghana's contested presidential elections on December 7, 2012, according to CPJ interviews, news reports, and local press freedom organizations.
Nairobi, January 4, 2013--Authorities in South Sudan have been holding two state broadcast journalists without charge since Tuesday, according to local journalists and media reports. The journalists were picked up in a sweep of arrests following protests and ethnic clashes last month in the northwestern town of Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal State.
On December 18, 2012, a judge convicted editor El Malick Seck of weekly news magazine L'Exclusif of criminal defamation over a column critical of Sidy Lamine Niasse, the chief executive of private media group Walf, according to news reports.
New York, January 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Nigeria's State Security Service (SSS) to return laptops and cell phones confiscated from two journalists who were illegally detained for more than a week without charge.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.