Media in Africa

SIERRA LEONE: Journalists at War with Highest Court

Umaru Fofana looks dishevelled. His hair is overgrown and people who do not know him could be mistaken for thinking he just joined an Afro band. And his hanging beard will surely solicit suspicious glances.

RIGHTS-UGANDA: Suppressing ‘Enemies' of the State

In the wee hours of one Saturday morning, Mary Serumaga was woken up by a disturbing phone call. Her younger brother Robert Kalundi Serumaga had just been abducted by four unknown gun-wielding men the previous night.

SIERRA LEONE: Banned Opposition Radio Station Goes to Court

Sierra Leone's largest opposition party has taken the country's media monitoring body to court for banning its radio station.

RIGHTS-GAMBIA: Hydara Six Convicted on Sedition Charge

A high court judge in Gambia has convicted six Gambian journalists on charges of defamation and sedition.

MEDIA: African Journalists Reject EU-sponsored Observatory

A project to create a Pan-African Media Observatory (PAMO), sponsored by the European Union in cooperation with the African union, has been rejected by numerous African journalist organisations.

Turning down the volume: rival radio stations have been blamed for fanning political tensions with inflammatory broadcasts. Credit:  Tugela Ridley/IRIN

SIERRA LEONE: Radio Stations Banned

Two Sierra Leonean radio stations have been stripped of their licences. The national regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), says the stations failed to comply with the country's media code.

MEDIA-ZIMBABWE: Promises But Little Action on Press Freedom

While journalists welcomed a pledge by the government to reform the country’s closed media space, fears run deep over a horde of laws that continue to make Zimbabwe a media minefield where a ‘wrong’ story can land a journalist behind bars.

Journalists protest new media law requiring, among other things, registration and accreditation of journalists and an enforced right to reply. Credit:  Ephraim Nsingo/IPS

BOTSWANA: Deep Divisions Remain Over Media Law

While the international theme for World Press Freedom Day was "Fostering Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation", the Botswana government and the media seemed to take the opposite route - taking turns to snub each other’s calls for dialogue.

RIGHTS-ZIMBABWE: Journalists Spurn Govt Summit on Press Freedom

Media organisations this week dug in their heels over boycotting a national media conference in the resort town of Kariba. State-owned media reported that the much-postponed conference finally opened on May 8, with information minister Webster Shamu lamenting the deep divisions within the media fraternity in Zimbabwe.

David Makali Credit:

Q&A: Average Marks for East African Press Freedom

Four years ago, a furious Lucy Kibaki, Kenya's First Lady, marked World Press Freedom Day by storming the offices of leading independent publisher the Nation Group with her entourage."

ZAMBIA: Media Resists Calls for State Regulation

After almost a decade of fighting for self-regulation, the Zambian media may finally have its wishes entrenched with constitutional protection.

SIERRA LEONE: Radio Stations Banned for Inciting Violence

Sierra Leone's vice president, Samuel Sam-Sumana, on Mar. 13 ordered an indefinite ban on radio stations owned by the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and its main rival, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

MEDIA-GHANA: Unusual Bedfellows Push for Change

There has been a clamour to tighten up oversight and regulation of Ghana’s broadcasters from unusual bedfellows - the state-sponsored National Media Commission (NMC) and the Ghana Journalists" Association (GJA). The bodies have, in separate initiatives, slammed attempts to "privatise" the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and have railed against the practices of commercial radio stations.

BOTSWANA: Media Laws Stir Dissent Within Ruling Party

There is growing dissent in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) over laws that enable the government to regulate the media. Member of parliament, Keletso Rakhudu, broke ranks with his party by publicly criticising the Media Practitioner’s Act as an "assault" on the "fundamentals" and "undermining" free and independent media. He claims a number of his colleagues shared his dismay but were fearful of speaking out.

POLITICS-SOUTH AFRICA: ‘Media Must Adopt Its Own Agenda’

Electioneering in South Africa is in full swing. Party posters emblazon lampposts and the media has been lapping up the weekly rallies and manifesto launches as parties set out to woo voters. As in previous elections, the focus has been on party political events.

Its critics want the SABC to give voice to the concerns of the marginalised. Credit:  Rogier van der Weijden

MEDIA-SOUTH AFRICA: Battle Over Future of Public Broadcaster

A powerful coalition of civic organisations is calling for a complete overhaul of the legal framework of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to force it to fulfil its public broadcasting mandate.

Protesting a 2007 bill requiring journalists to reveal sources; President Kibaki eventually sent that law back for re-drafting. Credit:  Allan Gichigi/IRIN

KENYA: Press Freedom: Going, Going, Gone

Dark clouds are forming against freedom of expression in Kenya, following the recent passing of a controversial Bill by parliament. The Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill, awaiting presidential assent to become law, gives the state powers to invade media houses, seize broadcast equipment, control broadcast content, even taking a station off air.

MEDIA-DR CONGO: Journalists Murdered Near Police Stations

Since the November 2004 murder of Frank Kangundu, journalist with the Congolese daily ‘La Référence Plus’, and his wife, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has entered a sad cycle of killings of media professionals.

MEDIA-SOUTH SUDAN: Battle on Two Fronts

A recent presentation at parliament by the South's Finance Minister gave a few cursory details of how the South's army managed to spend 99.6 percent of its budget by June. At the end of the public session, the South's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Martin Elia told journalists not to write about the presentation for security reasons.

The Open Cage drama series encourages women to speak out. Credit:  Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

UGANDA: Radio Drama Strengthens Women’s Voices

Fifteen-year-old Taboni's parents are in a bind. Their daughter has been raped by the commandant of the squalid internally-displaced persons camp they call home, and they do not know what to do.

 Sa'adatu Baba Credit:  Amina Koki Gizo

Q&A: "We Will Write About Them"

While formal publishing companies in Nigeria languished through the economic crises that accompanied the structural adjustment programmes of the late 1980s and early 1990s, young Hausa writers began writing about their lives and contemporary problems they faced. Bypassing formal publishers, they self-published their novels, often with the help of a writers' cooperative.

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