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September 7, 2010

African press freedom advocates fight criminal defamation laws

Africa’s leading press freedom advocates met in Kenya this week to support the Declaration of Table Mountain, a freedom of expression campaign organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) to repeal criminal defamation and insult laws across the continent. The inaugural meeting of the campaign’s steering committee, held in Nairobi on September 1 and 2 , brought together editors, journalists and activists to provide guidance, expertise and support on the... MORE
September 1, 2010

Somali journalist stabbed to death

A Somali journalist working for a private radio station was stabbed to death by unidentified attackers in the war-torn country's central Galkayo region, colleagues and witnesses said Wednesday. Abdulahi Omar Gedi, who worked with Daljir Radio, was attacked when he left work late on Tuesday and later died of his injuries in hospital, his colleague Abdulkadir Mohamed told Agence France-Presse (AFP). "Unidentified men attacked him with knives and killed him. We don't know why he was killed as... MORE
September 1, 2010

Malawi president threatens to close down newspapers that “lie”

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika last week threatened to shut down newspapers that “tarnish” his government’s image. The president, who was speaking at an agriculture show in the capital city of Liongwe, seemed to be referring to a story in the privately-owned Malawi News Daily , reports said. The story quoted a report from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an economic organisation of southern African states, which said over a million Malawians will need food aid following... MORE
August 31, 2010

Ugandan court strikes down criminal sedition, upholds right to free speech

Uganda's Constitutional Court has declared the country's criminal sedition offence, which has been used to prosecute journalists, unconstitutional. The ruling was based on a 2005 constitutional review petition filed by the East African Media Institute and CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner Andrew Mwenda over political radio commentary critical of the government. Mwenda told New York based press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he faces 17 counts of sedition... MORE
August 31, 2010

Togo bans paper over story on president's half-brother

A criminal court judge in Togo Wednesday last imposed an indefinite ban on the distribution of a Benin newspaper that had raised questions about the alleged involvement of a half-brother of President Faure Gnassingbé in drug trafficking. The ban on Tribune d'Afrique , a private bimonthly based in Benin that has a bureau in the Togolese capital of Lomé, was based on charges of publishing false news and defamation under the 1998 press law and the penal code. The suit was filed by Mey Gnassingbé,... MORE
August 31, 2010

Newspaper editor in Senegal gets six months in prison for defaming president's chief of staff

A six-month jail sentence has been imposed by a Dakar court on Abdourahmane Diallo, the editor of the Express News daily, for defaming President Abdoulaye Wade's chief of staff, Pape Samba Mboup. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Diallo, who was tried in absentia , but he has not yet been detained. The Dakar criminal court that had tried Diallo in absentia finally issued its verdict on August 26, after two postponements. It imposed a six-month jail term on the editor, together with a... MORE
August 25, 2010

Somali journalist killed in Mogadishu crossfire

Veteran radio journalist Barkhat Awale was killed by crossfire Tuesday in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the Commitee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported quoting local journalists and news reports. He is the second journalist killed on duty in Somalia this year, according to CPJ. Awale, 60, director of the community radio station Hurma Radio, was on the roof of the station assisting a technician in fixing the station's transmitter when a stray bullet hit him in the stomach, local... MORE
August 21, 2010

Chad: Parliament adopts new media law that is still too repressive

Chad's national assembly has passed a media bill that the government resubmitted at the start of the month. Adopted on Thursday by 82 votes for, 2 against and 11 abstentions, the new law suppresses its predecessor's provisions for prison sentences for insults and defamation and the crime of insulting the president, but it introduces sentences of 6 to 12 months in prison, fines of 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (150 to 1,500 euros) and a publication ban of up to six months for inciting racial... MORE
August 16, 2010

Zimbabwe minister threatens press with jail over leaks

A Zimbabwean minister who threatened to jail journalists who used information he said had been leaked from cabinet meetings, according to New York-based press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Information Minister Webster Shamu made the threat on August 4. Shamu said that journalists and ministers could face jail sentences of up to 20 years under the 1970 Official Secrets Act for using confidential information from cabinet proceedings to "further their political agendas."... MORE
August 13, 2010

Puntland authorities order suspension of broadcast journalist

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has condemned the suspension from work of Nuh Muse Birjeb, a journalist working with the Voice of America (VOA) Somali Service, also the correspondent for Universal TV in the Puntland regions. "The suspension of a journalist who is merely carrying out his media work is a breach of press freedom. We understand that this is the height of a series of intimidations and scrutiny against Nuh Muse. Such actions are tantamount to an open subjugation of... MORE