PEN SA Africa Pulse #12
05 May 2017
PEN SA Africa Pulse is a weekly round-up of news concerning cases of freedom of expression and the freedom of the press in Africa.
Dr Stella Nyanzi support form
On April 10th 2017, Dr Stella Nyanzi was charged with ‘cyber-harassment’ and she was subsequently arrested and imprisoned by the Uganda government for criticising President Yoweri Museveni and his wife, Janet Museveni. PEN SA made an urgent appeal to the Ugandan President to release Dr Nyanzi.
You can add your support to the appeal by adding your name to the PEN SA’s letter support form at the bottom of the letter here.
Cameroon journalist sentenced to 10 years in prison
A Yaoundé military court in Cameroon has sentenced Ahmed Abba, a Cameroonian journalist for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service, to ten years in prison. Freedom of expression organisations around the world are outraged by the sentencing and have written letters to the Cameroon President Paul Biya calling for Abba’s release. You can read PEN SA letter here. You can also read letters from Reporters without borders and Committee to Protect Journalists.
Nigerian journalist detained over WhatsApp comment granted bail
Midat Joseph, the Kaduna State correspondent of Leadership Newspapers, who is also the Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna Council, was arrested by the Kaduna State command of the Nigeria Police. Mr. Joseph and Eusebius Yayock were arrested over alleged texts they sent on a WhatsApp group chat.
African governments have a new way of controlling the media—starve them of ad revenue
By cutting its newspaper Ad revenue, a government is effectively forcing a newspaper to retrench staff, thus limiting the scope of work that the newspaper can do. According to an article in Quartz, it’s estimated that 30% of newspaper revenue in Kenya comes from government advertising. Kenya is having its general election in August and the Kenyan government has decided to stop advertising in local commercial media. What implications does this have for freedom of speech?
Committee to Protect Journalists advocacy manager, Kerry Paterson on media freedom in Africa
The restrictions on the press are diverse, besides the overt repression, which includes arrests and intimidation of journalists, what else is the media in Africa having to deal with in the ongoing onslaught against media freedom.
Former HuffPost SA editor to appeal hate speech ruling
The former Huffington Post SA editor-in chief Verashni Pillay will apply for leave to appeal the press ombudsman’s hate speech ruling on a blog carried by the publication. “I have apologised for various aspects of the incident, and chose to resign following the ruling. However, I am concerned about the chilling effect this ruling will have on freedom of speech in South Africa, and the freedom to debate difficult topics around race and gender in mainstream publications,” Pillay wrote to the Mail & Guardian in an email.
Mail and Guardian