CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Africa

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

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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.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

One year after arrest Zone 9 bloggers remain imprisoned as trial drags on

It will be one year this weekend since six bloggers were arrested in Addis Ababa, just days after the group announced on Facebook that their Zone 9 blog would resume publishing after seven months of inactivity. As the anniversary of the arrests approaches on Saturday, Soleyana S. Gebremichale, one of the Zone 9 founders who was charged in absentia, told me the situation was not hopeless.

Blog   |   Nigeria

In election year, Nigeria's press feeling the pressure

A schoolgirl walks past campaign posters for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Lagos. Journalists covering the election campaign say they are being attacked. (Reuters/ Akintunde Akinleye)

"Nobody is safe. Not the voter, not the journalist, not anybody!" The fears of Femi Adesina, president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, is echoed by stakeholders and observers of Nigeria's general election. Amid the tension in the run up to presidential and federal parliamentary elections on March 28, and governor and state parliamentary elections on April 11, journalists can be easy targets.

Blog   |   Angola

Acclaimed journalist Marques de Morais on trial for defamation in Angola

On Tuesday, less than a week after receiving an award for his journalism from the London-based freedom of expression group Index on Censorship, veteran journalist Rafael Marques de Morais will stand trial in Angola on charges of criminal defamation.

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