MURDERS, HARASSMENT AND JAILING OF
JOURNALISTS IN AFRICA
Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, Dakar
September 18, 2006
The Foreign Correspondents’
Associations of Southern Africa and the Foreign Correspondents
Association of East Africa are deeply
concerned about the murders, harassment and jailing of journalists
across Africa recently. We believe that functioning democracies need
an independent and unfettered press. Freedom of the press and respect
for journalists play a crucial role in building good governance.
Attacks on journalists damage societies
and run counter to the expressed aims of the African Union, the
New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD) and the Commission for Africa.
In the past few months journalists
working in Africa have been charged with espionage, murdered,
harassed by government officials, and
jailed for defamation and for publishing “false news.”
In Sudan, respected Sudanese editor
Mohammed Taha, was kidnapped and murdered by unknown
The Sudanese government charged
American journalist Paul Salopek with espionage and spreading false
news. Mr Salopek, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, was released on
"humanitarian grounds" before his trial began.
In Khartoum, a crew from Canadian TV
CBC that had the necessary permit to film was detained and
assaulted in front of their hotel.
Cameraman Simon Munene was punched in the head, which left him
bleeding from his eye.
In Ethiopia, at least 20 journalists
were jailed, according to statistics by the International Federation
Journalists from August. A female
journalist, Serkalem Fasi, gave birth to her son in a police prison.
In Somalia in June, freelance Swedish
cameraman Martin Adler was shot dead at a large rally in the
In Democratic Republic of Congo in
July, reporters were harrassed and beaten by supporters of Joseph
In Niger, a court last week handed down
18-month prison sentences and heavy fines against the
director and editor of the Niger
private weekly Le Républicain. The pair were charged with defaming
the government in connection with a
July opinion piece that suggested that Niger’s foreign policy was
“deserting the West for Iran.”
In Senegal, a court last week gave
Alioune Ndiaye and Saliou Sambe, director and reporter with the
private daily L’Observateur,
six-month suspended prison sentences over a story about alleged
Journalists complain on a regular basis
on non-transparent visa procedures, "lost visa files", very
delyas and lots of red tape that makes
it very difficult to travel to countries like Sudan and Nigeria.
The Foreign Correspondents’
Associations note that the attacks have been on foreign and local
alike. The Associations condemn the
attacks and call for the immediate release of jailed journalists.
For more information, please contact:
John Chiahemen, Chairman, the FCA of
Southern Africa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Ulrike Koltermann, Chairwoman, the
FCA of East Africa, email@example.com