CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Burkina Faso

Resistance over the airwaves: Pirate station's vital role during Burkina Faso coup

Residents protest over the coup in Ouagadougou in September. With many radio stations silenced during the unrest, pirate station Radio Resistance was a vital resource for news. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

Radio Resistance was a pirate radio station born out of necessity. During Burkina Faso's short-lived military coup last month, in which many local radio stations were forced off air, it kept citizens informed and gave them the courage to stand up against the attempted takeover, Burkinabe journalists said.

Blog   |   South Sudan

Shooting of freelance reporter increases fear for South Sudan's press

Nhial Bol reads reports about the killing of freelancer Peter Julius Moi. Many journalists in South Sudan say they are being more cautious since Moi's death. (AFP/Samir Bol)

Freelance journalist Peter Julius Moi used to ride a motorbike without wearing a helmet, despite warnings from one of his colleagues to be more careful. Moi would just shrug off those concerns, saying that as a South Sudanese journalist "risk was simply part of life." Last month, the reporter was shot dead as he walked home from work.

Blog   |   Burundi

Silence in Burundi as violence forces independent press into exile

A Bujumbura road is blocked during unrest over elections in Burundi in July. Many Burundians, including journalists, have gone into exile to flee the violence. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

On June 24, a grenade was thrown through the window of Voice of America correspondent Diane Nininahazwe's home. It was one of three cases CPJ has documented in recent months where grenades were thrown into the homes of journalists in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities, but there have also been no arrests.

Blog   |   Burundi

Burundi must investigate attacks on journalists

The body of a man killed overnight lies on a street as polls open for the presidential elections in Bujumbura, Burundi, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP/Jerome Delay)

The Committee to Protect Journalists and 18 other organizations are urging Burundi authorities to investigate attacks on journalists and human rights defenders. Since the April announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term, defying constitutional limitations and sparking months of protests, journalists have been routinely targeted. At least five radio stations were attacked and their staff threatened, inducing a mass exodus of journalists fleeing the country and leaving an information vacuum at a critical juncture. In presidential elections in mid-July, Nkurunziza won nearly 70 percent of the vote.

August 6, 2015 1:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Kenya

Mission Journal: Will Obama's visit boost hopes for press freedom in Kenya?

Billboards at Nairobi's airport welcome Barack Obama to Kenya. (CPJ/Sue Valentine)

President Barack Obama is expected to address a range of topics when he arrives in Kenya tomorrow. The Kenyan government says it plans to discuss security and trade, while opposition parties and civil society want good governance and human rights added to the agenda, according to news reports. We hope the discussion includes the commitments to improve press freedom that the Kenyan government made to CPJ last week.

On July 15, we released our special report, "Broken Promises: How Kenya is failing to uphold its commitment to a free press," in Nairobi to a room full of more than 50 Kenyan and foreign journalists. The report found that a combination of legal and physical harassment, as well as concentration in media ownership, is making it increasingly difficult for journalists to work freely in Kenya.

Blog   |   Rwanda

Hopes of independent press in Rwanda fade as head of media body flees

Rwanda's progress towards a more liberal media environment has been short-lived.

In May Fred Muvunyi, the head of the Rwanda Media Commission, fled the country for fear of being detained or attacked, and the country's telecommunications regulator suspended the operation agreement for the BBC's Great Lakes radio service indefinitely.

Blog   |   Angola

Angola turns tables on Marques de Morais, reinstates criminal defamation charges

Rafael Marques de Morais outside a Luanda court on May 25. Criminal defamation charges have been reinstated against the investigative journalist just days after they were dropped. (AFP/Estelle Maussion)

Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais is once again facing the threat of prison after the public prosecutor reinstated charges of criminal defamation on Monday. Seven Angolan generals have been pursuing criminal defamation charges against the investigative journalist over the publication of his 2011 book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola, in which he documents allegations of torture, forced displacement, intimidation, and even murder in the diamond-rich Lundas region of Angola.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

With limited independent press, Ethiopians left voting in the dark

A rally for the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front in Addis Ababa. The general election is on May 24 but with a diminished press, many voters struggle to find independent information. (AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

On Sunday Ethiopians go to the polls in the country's fifth general election since the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power more than 20 years ago. Citizens are expected to choose the right party to lead them for the next five years. To do so, they need to have a clear understanding of their country's political, social, and economic situation. They need to know which parties have the candidates and policies best suited to their own hopes and aspirations. But in a country with limited independent media, many Ethiopians struggle to find the information needed to help them make informed decisions.

May 22, 2015 4:17 PM ET


Blog   |   Cameroon

In Cameroon, press struggles with financial and official constraints

President Paul Biya and his wife, Chantal, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2014. Cameroon's government is seen by some journalists as being sensitive to criticism. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

On March 16, Cameroon's Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakari, denounced French online news outlet Le Monde as unprofessional at a press conference after it reported on allegations that President Paul Biya was in hospital in Geneva. The incident is symbolic of the growing problem in Cameroon, which has a growing but poorly funded independent press and a government resistant to criticism.

Blog   |   CPJ

On World Press Freedom Day and journalists' safety

Last week, I met a Cameroonian journalist who worked in the Congo until he fled following a series of threats and an attack on his home by armed men who assaulted his sister. Elie Smith, a TV host who documented alleged abuses by police and was outspoken in his criticism of the government, said he thought he had been under surveillance and that he had received multiple threats via text message.

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